The opening credits of 'Charlie ke Chakkar mein' play over what looks like a condom ad gone wrong. One of the film's 2500 mysterious characters writhes, naked, between satin sheets. "Who the eff is Charlie?" she sings. Lines of cocaine are then snorted, as if to immediately answer her distressed query.
In the first half, found footage introduces us to the quintessential bunch of five destined-to-die youngsters. They're basically debauched Shaitaan-style kids who deserve the worst just for being so annoying. They accidentally kill a gangster one night. They're blackmailed into a drug-peddling racket by a seductive siren (Disha Arora) that spends most of her time blowing smoke rings and sleeping with everybody in sight.
Studying these videos is a police commissioner (Nasseruddin Shah) who communicates with wisdom quotes, a tough female inspector and a virginal assistant. Shah, in particular, looks bemused, as if he were watching himself in reruns of cult B-movie 'Sona Spa'.
As is the norm, the most obscene of them - the mandatory overweight loser - records everything because he is an aspiring director. He shoots through door cracks, windows, and sounds like a vile sex offender on parole. They're led by an outdated Mumbaiya-spouting Catholic tapori, played by Amit Sial, also the writer of this complex maze of nothingness. Anand Tiwari is a struggling actor with a two-timing screechy girlfriend (Manasi Rachh), and there's also another girl who nobody cares about.
By now, the script decides to make us stop caring. As our beloved cops decode the plot in an interrogation room, it becomes impossible to keep up. The filmmakers seem to have taken the 'chakkar' part too seriously.
Instead, this becomes an exciting Andheri spot-the-pub contest; private group meetings occur at the popular ones, from WTF Versova to Little Door. The equations-breaking-down phase is shot in and around Carter Road in Bandra. One can even spot many a befuddled observer turning away after presumably asking crew members what the film is about. There is no straight answer. In fact, there is no answer.
Everybody is double-crossing everybody, and the engineered twists and turns and cheap narrative devices make M. Night Shyamalan turn in his cinematic grave.
Viewers are routinely led down many sequences of events before being told it is all a lie. Clueless storytelling does not make for complex or smart film-making, especially when there's nothing at stake. No media or outside factors are at play. Quite simply, they all deserve a swift end.
The tagline humbly tells us that this is the "best investigative thriller of this year.any year." This is true, because viewers will be left investigating their interpretation of thrills for years.
Tragically, the only clever moment in this film is unintentional. A character with a bloody chest smokes a final cigarette before popping it. The censors do the rest. 'SMOKING KILLS' flashes at the bottom of the screen. Never mind drugs, drinks, blurry sex, muted cuss words and overall pointless violence.