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Honestly speaking, Bhram, helmed by Pavan Kaul, is engaging in parts. The film holds your attention intermittently, but the writing gets too predictable in the latter reels. The problem is, the incidents leading to the culmination appear to be a complete compromise from the writing point of view.
Let's explain. In Bhram, director Pavan Kaul doesn't open the cards at the very outset. You've to be alert to grasp things since the past and present move concurrently in the first hour, which, let's face it, tends to get confusing at times. It's only at the interval point that you exclaim, 'Okay, got it' and you look forward to the second hour with enthusiasm.
Any thriller works if the culmination hits you like a ton of bricks. In Bhram, it doesn't. The ending is so tame, so hackneyed that you know the answers even before they're spelt out on screen. That's when the impact evaporates into thin air!
Antra [Sheetal Menon] is a successful model, but is hiding behind the veil of a traumatic past. Shantanu [Dino Morea] is initially attracted to Antra, who snubs him initially, but the two develop a strong bond subsequently.
Things take a dramatic turn when Antra is introduced to Devendra [Milind Soman], Shantanu's elder brother. The wounds re-open and the skeleton tumbles out of the closet...
Pavan Kaul has managed to lay his hands on an intriguing story, but the writers let him down. While the first hour isn't faulty, things go awry in the second hour. When Dino lands up in Manali to experience the truth, he meets a series of people who were present on the fateful day. Now note this: Everyone seems to be talking of the birthday party, but the incident never takes place then. It happens at a time when only the young kid is a witness. So how would the entire town know what really transpired?
The assorted people Dino meets in Manali are suddenly told to keep their mouth shut. Wait, a still photographer is murdered as well. The question is, how does the key culprit [name withheld] enjoy such clout in an altogether different state, when, in the first place, people blame him for the rape and death? Clearly, the writers [writer: Bhavani Iyer, screenplay-dialogue: Radhika Anand] don't know how to culminate matters. Incidentally, the dialogues are too hot to handle. Sure, it's right to change with the times, one doesn't argue that, but why so many words and terms which are in poor taste? Not required!
As a storyteller, Pavan Kaul has chosen an interesting story and the execution of the subject supersedes his earlier efforts. He has handled a few sequences with maturity, especially the finale [filmed on a breath-taking location]. But why the sepia effect in most parts of the film? Not needed! Music [Pritam, Siddharth-Suhas] is quite okay, although the songs aren't too popular and therefore, don't come easy on your lips. Cinematography [Hiroo Keshwani] is first-rate. Editing [K. Rajgopal] is loose. The film should be tightened by at least 15 minutes.
Milind Soman gives a decent account of himself. There wouldn't be a reason to dislike him. Dino Morea carries off his part with sincerity. The vulnerable look comes across well at places. Sheetal Menon fits the role. Simone Singh is first-rate. Chetan Hansraj is strictly okay. Sheetal Shah is hardly there. Ditto for Deepshikha.
On the whole, Bhram has an interesting story to tell, but lack of hype, face-value and uninspiring promotion will hit the business hard.