Main Aur Charles full movie review - Was expecting much more exciting, intriguing and informative film on the mystery man than this stylish attempt with quite less to offer in content.
If after watching a film you have all praises for its lead actor, art direction and background score, but are not willing to praise the film on the whole as any entertaining e
xperience at all, then that's a clear failure for the makers, unable to make any kind of connection with the general viewers, which is unfortunately the case with the much awaited MAIN AUR CHARLES made on the real life stories of Charles Sobhraj, a conman/serial killer active towards the end of the last century.
Recalling the news bulletins/newspapers of those decades I personally remember Sobhraj's criminal deeds being read and discussed with the element of an 'entertaining awe' and most of the people imagining him as a charming, clever hero of some Hindi pulp fiction novel, forgetting all about the blood and murders associated with his big-name willingly. So following the same pattern, one expected the bio-pic of such a controversial-likable personality to be an equally exciting watch depicting 'the cat & mouse games' played with the Police in a truly entertaining manner making the best of the opportunity given.
However it was really sad to see the film turning out to be nothing but a mere stylized portrayal of Charles's happening life scoring much less on the content level disappointing many.
Giving the deserving credit to its visible merits, yes here we have Randeep Hoodatruly enacting the character with an impressive, mesmerizing elegance using a fine mix of language, make-up and dialogue-delivery creating a hypnotic kind of impact (just like the real life Charles), an intelligent re-creation of the gone era by the art-directors, a pulsating background score (though there is no innovation tried by the composers following the past hits) and a talented cast ensemble in the key roles making it an enjoyable film for the viewers just interested in the technical part of the creation ignoring everything else.
On the other hand, when you take into consideration its less engaging script progression, the 'more than required' artistic style of narration, not so clearly spoken dialogues having a foreign accent, the deliberated inserted skin-show, lackluster music (ruining another golden hit "Jab Chhaye Mera Jadoo"), avoidable dumb characters as of Mandana Karimi and no detailed attention given on the 'How he did it all' part of the biography, MAIN AUR CHARLES seems to be a pretty confused product trying to cater the classes as well as the masses together following a jumbled vision of its director Parwaal Raman. As a result despite the honest efforts put in by Adil Hussain, Richa Chaddha and Vipin Kumar it doesn't reach out to the general viewers willing to see something exciting as well as entertaining made on the life of a negative but interesting French-Indian-Vietnamese personality of Charles Sobhraj.
Having said that, MAIN AUR CHARLES does hold you tight in its final 40 minutes showcasing the jail-break sequence and the link established with the opening scene of his murders committed in Thailand. Plus it has some exceptional strokes too played occasionally like focusing on the book 'Mein Kampf' in Sobhraj's personal collection, the old Black & White classic being played in the jail for the selected inmates and the warden referring to him as 'Sir'. Yet, one honestly misses the finer details and is forced to think that the potential subject and figure surely deserved a much better film from the makers materializing on the golden chance.
Moreover the film also couldn't give me answers for many significant questions in mind. Like what was his early childhood about, where did he learn his various arts of influencing/hypnotizing people, how he used to charge for his interviews and discuss copyrights of his personal life-content, did the 'Charles' in his name have anything to do with 'Charlie Chaplin' (as it is rumoured), what were his views about India in particular, what happened to him after the Indian chapter, where is he now and what's in his mind at the present after spending so many years in the jails of various countries? (The questions Google answers much better than the film!)
Anyway, where MAIN AUR CHARLES successfully manages to score on technical grounds, it fails to do the same in terms of 'connecting with the general audience' as desired. But you can still see it for the style quotient and Randeep Hooda in particular who simply nails it playing Charles Sobhraj ?..unarguably.