Serial killers have always inspired iconic movies. Zodiac, The Silence Of The Lambs and Psycho are often cited as perfect examples when this topic comes up. Surprisingly, Bollywood hasn’t really tapped into this goldmine. There have been, of course, movies like Dushman, Kaun and more recently, Ek Villain that have been made on this theme, but all the killers in the said films have been works of fiction. That’s why a movie like Main Aur Charles is a rarity. Based on a real serial killer – Charles Sobhraj, Main Aur Charles is a fine attempt at deconstructing a person you have definitely heard or read about. Directed by Prawaal Raman, who made his debut with the interesting Darna Mana Hai but somehow lost his way with movies like Darling, this one seems to be a comeback of sorts for him.
Main Aur Charles is a mix of fiction and non-fiction and a depiction of a certain time in Sobhraj’s life. The flow of the movie can be confusing at first, but with time, all the knots are slowly untied. The film primarily revolves around Sobhraj and a respected Indian cop Amod Kanth, and the battle of their wits. The plot is mainly about Charles’s infamous jailbreak, during the course of which we get to see how easily he manages to seduce and manipulate the people around him to do his bidding. From inspectors to extortionists, from princesses, law students AND criminal psychologists – everybody loves Charles, except the cop himself.
The main performances of this movie are top notch, especially Randeep Hooda (and his accent) as Charles Sobhraj, Adil Husain as Amod Kanth and Nandu Madhav as Madhukar Zhende. Richa Chaddha was okay as Meera, the hopeless-in-love lawyer. I really believe that Richa looked too smart and self-assured to play someone so delusional. Tisca Chopra was nice as Amod’s wife and the rest of the cast did a fair job of supporting Randeep. The screenplay and dialogues (both by Prawaal Raman) could have been a little tighter and sharper respectively. The music by Aditya Trivedi was forgettable except the old classic Jab Chaye Mera Jaadu (remixed for this movie). The cinematography by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan was gorgeous, though, doing full justice to the gloriously trippy Goa scenes and pathetically cramped Indian courts.
All in all, Main Aur Charles is a good start in this sub-genre. Watch it with complete concentration and please don’t leave your brains at home.