Amid a serene resort in Mauritius, a child goes missing. Aparna, the distraught mother, oscillates between hysteria and calm. The father, a rather lascivious, bumbling man named Sushant, is weirdly unfazed. Things get complicated when the police gets involved. Where does a three-year-old suffering from high fever go when security guards and cameras reveal nothing?
A psychological thriller that takes you into a maze riddled with a contrived plot and unnatural circumstances where the only redeeming part is watching Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee give praiseworthy performances.
Indian psychological thrillers, at best, focus on characters who are not whom they claim to be. There’s gore but suspense, too, about the character’s next move. Missing aims to be at par with those films, but more often than not, ends up with frayed knots where neither logic nor loopholes save them. Backed by overly dramatic music, Missing‘s flimsy plot occasionally excites with twists and turns you don’t see coming.
At 1 AM, Sushant, Aparna, and their perpetually covered toddler, arrive at a fancy resort where everybody, quite conveniently, speak in Hindi. That night, a strange man appears to be inquisitive about the toddler crying in the middle of the night. The next morning, the child goes missing and the only person visibly rattled is Aparna. Sushant sweats bucket loads but is more worried about missing a meeting as opposed to their missing child.
Theories float about their relationship, about Aparna’s state of mind, and Sushant’s storytelling. Neither truth nor lies, Missing has moments straight out of Shutter Island, The Uninvited, and other Hollywood thrillers packed together.
Pegging on the idea that the child may or may not exist, the characters search for her but the plot ends up peeling layers and layers out of the two leads. Details are vague and inconsistent, the film almost plays out like an improv acting class where characters appear to be making up the plot as they go.
When the plot isn’t on focus, the weird camera angles and cheesy dialogues such as “I made love to you. Would I lie to you?” or “Don’t tell me you don’t know the usage of the condom” make it tough to stay interested. They do elicit unintentional laughs though.
It, however, makes you wonder, had the film not been headlined with good actors like Tabu and Bajpayee or even a CID-inspired Annu Kapoor, Missing would’ve easily been slotted as a trying too hard thriller running high with sleaze and camp. But it does play out like a good guessing game if you get too bored.