'Forensic' review: Wannabe CID

The adaptation of an already convoluted Malayalam film of the same name from 2020, Forensic strays far away from the original with a new set of gimmicky twists and ludicrous turns

Courtesy: Twitter/@dhooomachale
Courtesy: Twitter/@dhooomachale

Namrata Joshi

Pardon me if I seem more benevolent to Vishal Furia’s Forensic than what it truly deserves but it’s all because of its reference to my most favourite guilty pleasure of all time, the long-running TV series CID. It was a surprise and unexpected treat indeed to encounter the forensics expert Dr Salunkhe of CID here talking some ostensibly scientific but downright nonsensical mumbo jumbo about FDP, janam kundli, darwaza todna etc. However, despite Salunkhe’s helping hand Forensic (currently streaming on ZEE5) can’t reach the sublime silliness of CID. In fact, the film isn’t certain about what it is aspiring to be.

The adaptation of an already convoluted Malayalam film of the same name from 2020, it strays far away from the original with a new set of gimmicky twists and ludicrous turns. In doing so neither does it stay on course as a tantalising thriller, nor does it allow itself to fully embrace the farcical. In the process, it also leaves the audience confused about whether to take it seriously or just fool around with it.

Forensic begins with a prologue scene that has all to do with the physical abuse of a young boy and his seething rage. It then shifts locale to Mussoorie where a series of young girls are getting abducted and murdered, that too on their birthdays. The case is assigned to Sub Inspector Megha Sharma (Radhika Apte). She is helped by forensics expert Johnny Khanna (Vikrant Massey) who happens to be an estranged lover with whom she shares a troubled past involving her sister and brother-in-law (Rohit Roy, who happens to his brother) and their twin daughters.

My problem with Indian thrillers has always been that of the payoff. Even if the investigations are charted well the reveals have always felt tame or too spelt out and explicatory. Forensic tries to rectify it by resorting to the most preposterous disclosure and gets too smart for its own limitations of imagination and creativity. After taking us through several red herrings and 4 to 5 suspects that range from dwarfs to juvenile delinquents it settles for a perpetrator who is too much of a contrivance to be able to stand scrutiny of any kind.

Massey’s Johnny is needlessly unhinged, moonwalking while examining corpses, reciting painful, self-authored Urdu shayari while dealing with sensitive evidence, getting righteous about crime scene contamination and giving his own interpretation to the nursery rhyme Johnny Johnny Yes Papa. Massey, known for his subtle ways, seems ill at ease in trying to be over the top. Apte wears three or four expressions through the film, smiling, smug, getting angry and perplexed by turn. They have a whole band of ineffectual ensemble in support including Vindu Singh, Rohit Roy, Prachi Desai, Anant Mahadevan and a criminally wasted, talented actor like Subrat Dutta in a pointless role of Megha’s adversarial colleague.

Forget the offence Forensic commits of murdering the science of forensics itself, it is even more brutal in making mince meat of another significant profession. Talking even a wee bit about it would be giving out a lot and injurious to the viewing pleasure. So I shall keep silent for the benefit of those who still have the heart to sit through the film. And shall only tell you that Kajol is not the killer.

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