HR Musik’s The Xposé (UA) is a suspense thriller. Bollywood heroine Zara (Sonali Raut) falls to her death hours after winning the best actress award for her performance in a film which is a box-office flop. Is it suicide or has she been murdered? The film is set in the Bollywood of the 1960s.
Superstar Ravi Kumar (Himesh Reshammiya) and Zara don’t get along too well in spite of starring in the same film. Zara, who has no qualms about sleeping around for a price, is keen to get close to her co-star but Ravi Kumar, conscious as he is of his superstardom, doesn’t care too much about Zara’s advances. Ravi Kumar is in love with another Bollywood heroine, Chandni (Zoya Afroz), who is the leading lady of another film released on the same day as Ravi Kumar and Zara’s film. Chandni’s film has been declared a box-office hit whereas Ravi Kumar and Zara’s film fails at the box-office. While Ravi Kumar’s film is directed by Subba Rao (Ananth Narayan Mahadevan), Chandni’s box-office hit is directed by Bobby Chaddha (Ashwin Dhar). K.D. (Yo Yo Honey Singh) is a struggling music composer who doesn’t think twice before selling the same song to two filmmakers.
As the drama progresses, it emerges that Zara was pushed to her death? Who murdered Zara? And why?
Himesh Reshammiya has penned a story which may not boast of novelty but which keeps the viewer engaged. The screenplay, written by Himesh Reshammiya and Jainesh Ejardar, moves at a brisk pace, giving the audience no time to think. Again, there may be no novelty in the screenplay but the recreation of the 1960s’ atmosphere of Bollywood is quite remarkable, complete with the music of that era. Of course, the revelation of the suspense looks a bit too hurried but that’s as much a plus point as it is convenient. Although it looks like the writers wanted to wrap up the drama fast, it is good because it doesn’t let boredom creep in anywhere. Bunty Rathore’s dialogues are the best part of the script because they are very entertaining and often bring a smile to the audience’s lips.
Himesh Reshammiya plays a no-nonsense character who hardly smiles and who mouths his dialogues in a flat manner. He does his part well although it must be said, the role does not require him to act too much. Sonali Raut (as Zara) makes a fine debut. She looks glamorous and gets her expressions right. Zoya Afroz looks pretty in the role of Chandni and she also acts with confidence in her debut film. Yo Yo Honey Singh has a small role, relatively speaking, and he is good in it. Ananth Narayan Mahadevan is very natural as filmmaker Subba Rao. Ashwin Dhar acts with effortless ease in the role of filmmaker Bobby Chaddha. Nakul Vaid makes his presence felt as actor Virman Shah. Dayashankar Pandey has his moments as Naidu. Adil Hussain (as Rajan Anna), Jesse Randhawa (as Shabnam Rai), Kunal Thakur (as Vikram Raj), Rajesh Sharma (as the police officer), Kanika Dang (as D’silva aunty), Bharat Dabholkar (as Mr. Desai) and Naresh Suri (as Mishra) lend able support. Irrfan Khan adds his star charisma in the role of blackmarketeer Alec D’costa, which he plays with complete conviction.
Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s direction is nice. He has made a film which keeps the audience engrossed in the drama and engages them in the guessing game about who the murderer is. Himesh Reshammiya’s music is hit and is a major highlight of the film. ‘Ice cream’, ‘Hai apna dil toh awara’ and ‘Catch me if you can’ are fast-paced songs which are lovely. ‘Dard dilon ke’ is melodiously excellent. ‘Sheeshe ka samundar’ is also beautifully tuned and ‘Suroor’ has lilt. Lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed, Sameer and Kumaar) are very good. Choreography (by Ganesh Acharya and Sujit Kumar) beautifully transports the audience to the Bollywood era gone by. Sanjoy Salil Chowdhury and Himesh Reshammiya’s background music is apt for the suspense drama. Maneesh Chandra Bhatt’s camerawork is of a good standard. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action scenes are effective. Sets (Sunil Jaiswal) are lovely. Ashish Arjun Gaikar’s editing is sharp. Production values are of a high standard.
On the whole, The Xposé is an engaging suspense thriller with hit music and excellent dialogues as the plus points. It will do fair business but it has an extraneous factor working against it and that is that it has a limited window of just one week to do business because it will face a major opposition in the form of the eagerly-awaited film, Heropanti, next week.