Star cast: Munish Khan, Sara Khan, Zakir Hussain, Gulshan Grover, Mukesh Tiwari.

Plot: Zakir Hussain saves Munish’s life when he meets with a serious accident. After some days, Zakir is at Munish’s doorstep, badly injured. Munish helps him but soon learns that he is an assassin on the run. Should he continue to save Zakir’s life because he had saved his, or should he hand him over to the police and help the law?

What’s Good: A few sequences and acting of Zakir Hussain in some scenes.

What’s Bad: The TV serial-like script; the repetitiveness of the drama; the lack of excitement in the story.

Verdict: Payback will not pay anybody anything!

Loo break: You may take a couple of breaks as you won’t miss anything much.

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Archangel Entertainment’s Payback (UA) is about a person paying back for someone’s noble deed. Kunal (Munish Khan) meets with a serious accident when the car he is driving one rainy night collides with a truck. Lying in a pool of blood and hanging between life and death, Kunal needs urgent medical assistance. Passersby look at him but don’t stop to help. Then, one stranger, Raghu (Zakir Hussain), rushes him to the hospital in his own car but leaves from there, after giving the doctor a fake address and a wrong telephone number.

Kunal, who has got a new lease of life because of Raghu’s help, has faint memories of him and he is pleasantly surprised to see him by chance one day near his house. He thanks him for saving his life. The next night, Kunal is shocked to find Raghu at his doorstep with a bullet wound. Kunal helps him but in the course of the night, he learns that Raghu is a professional assassin.

Kunal is now in a dilemma. Should he help Raghu and save him from the police? For, although Raghu takes lives of people, he was instrumental in giving him (Kunal) a new life. Kunal telephones Ishita (Sara Khan), his girlfriend with whom he has split, and calls her over. He asks her how far she, in a similar position, would go to save a killer who had saved her life.

The film has a story, penned by Upendra Sidhye, which was more suited for a television serial. The screenplay, also written by Sidhye, is repetitive and gets boring after a point of time, especially in the film’s second half because the drama moves on a single track. Since it takes up a moralistic issue, the opinion of the audience would be divided, and everyone may not agree with the stand taken by the writer.

For a drama of this kind, the proceedings had to be of a very high interest value to hold the audience’s attention and keep them engrossed. But writer Upendra Sidhye fails to achieve that. Even his dialogues are commonplace. The love story between Kunal and Ishita fails to impress. Also, Raghu being shown as an understanding assassin seems a bit weird and unbelievable.

Munish Khan makes an average debut as the lead man. Sara Khan may not have the looks of a heroine but her performance is quite nice. Zakir Hussain does justice to his role. However, it is irritating to see the constant frown on his face because of his bullet injury. Gulshan Grover is earnest. Mukesh Tiwari is fair but goes overboard in some scenes. Hrishikesh Joshi, as Bhau Bhosle, is okay. Kunal Kumar lends average support in the role of Rohit.

Sachin P. Karande’s direction is okay in the first half but, like the script, he quite loses control after interval. Dev Sikhdar’s music is routine. Lyrics (by Dev Sikhdar and Irfan Shaikh) are ordinary. Parvez Pathan’s camerawork and Firoz N. Boss’ action sequences are functional. Editing (Mukesh Thakur) could have been far more sharp.

On the whole, Payback won’t prove to be a paying proposition because it lacks entertainment value. Given its dull start, it will go down as one more flop fare.

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