Star cast: Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae, Paresh Rawal, Hanif Hilal, Dhruv Ganesh.
What’s Good: Rajeev Khandelwal and Paresh Rawal’s performances; a couple of bikini scenes.
What’s Bad: The lame ‘dares’; the insipid climax; the predictable storyline; the frustrating wrong timings of the songs…
Loo break: Anytime. Might as well not come back.
Watch or Not?: Not really. This disastrous flick will not entertain you at all.
“If you lie, you die… you die.” Cheesy as it may sound, there are some really good flicks made on that clichéd line (I haven’t repeated the “you die” for effect, it’s verbatim from the movie) with the brilliant Phone Booth being the most memorable. However, Table No. 21 tries hard to be a psychological thriller but ends up being a me-too, and then ruins things further with a social message type ending.
Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Siya Agasthi (Tena Desae) have just won a free trip to Fiji. It’s a timely getaway for the couple who are not only in a rough patch due to Vivaan being out of a job, but also because it’s their wedding anniversary. Between the clink of glasses, a certain Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal) makes them a mouth-watering offer. What lies between them and Rs. 21 crores are just 8 questions and answers. The catch? They have to answer all the questions truthfully and complete their dares.
Unable to resist, Vivaan and Siya sign on the dotted line and the game begins. Before millions of online viewers, Vivaan and Siya answer personal questions about each other and do things that they never imagined they would. While it starts off with something as simple as kissing in the middle of a crowded street, the tasks get more absurd and dangerous at the proceeding levels. When they try to escape, they are informed that the lie-detectors on their wrists will detonate if they go beyond a certain distance.
While Vivaan and Siya think they know everything about each other, the game shows them otherwise. How long does this sinister game continue? What is the real reason behind the questions? Will they win?
The rest of the movie reveals the answers.
Table No. 21 Review: Script Analysis
Sheershak Anand, Abhijeet Deshpande and Shantanu Ray Chhibber try an innovative game-show technique with Table No. 21 but it falls flat. Right from the start, the game looks nothing like a show with “millions of online viewers”, even though Mr. Khan reiterates it half a dozen times (considering that we are likely to forget those 5 words because of boredom). The tasks and questions that follow are so lame that even a local TV show would not use it, let alone an international show with a prize money of millions. The dares are a bit inspired from movies like Saw 5, but it’s nowhere near as gruesome.
The characterizations are badly done. Vivaan and Siya are supposed to be college sweethearts very much in love with each other. Yet Siya only screams “nonsense” when the task includes having her hair shaved off, not when her husband has to spurt out 500ml of his blood for the earlier dare. After the interval, the dares become predictable and boring. You can see the finish line, and you want the darn film to just get there. And when it does, it’s not a pretty sight.
Abhijeet Deshpande’s dialogues are ordinary, though he tries to spice things up with poetic couplets.
Table No. 21 Review: Star Performances
Can someone give Rajeev Khandelwal a good film already? It’s a shame to see a talented actor like him having to do sorry roles like these. He does really well in the movie as Vivaan. Tena Desae gets to mostly huff-and-puff, and show off lots of skin, but she’s good as Siya. Paresh Rawal is wasted as the mysterious Mr. Khan, and even has to sport an unsightly arc of hair on his head throughout the movie. All the characters suffer because of bad writing with none of them ever living to their full potential.
Hanif Hilal does not get a single line in the film, but his acting is good. Dhruv Ganesh is also fine.
Table No. 21 Review: Direction, Music & Editing
Aditya Datt does a mediocre job with a disappointing script. The characters have been handled badly and there’s not much to look further to at any point in the movie. Strapping a Steady Camera on to the protagonist has become a trend of sorts now-a-days and this movie shows why it’s utterly unnecessary to do so. Amar Mohile’s background score is alright. The two songs – by Gajendra Verma and Sachin Gupta – are perfect in their wrong timings. Ravi Walia’s cinematography is very ordinary.
Table No. 21 Review: The Last Word
Table No. 21 is a shameful waste of some really good actors where the makers sleepwalked through the entire film. Best to avoid this one.
Table No. 21 Trailer
Table No. 21 released on 4th January, 2013.
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