Subhash K Jha speaks about Mickey Virus

Subhash K Jha speaks about Mickey Virus Ah, it takes all sorts! Especially in this day and age of instant information; who knows what you might run into on your computer? Mickey Virus is Bollywood's first full-fledged film on the virtual world. The hero – if we may call Manish Paul's languid lazy vagabondish character that is of a computer hacker, and one who likes to take his time over every punch of the keyboard. He is a bit of a bum, you know! Mercifully debutant director Saurabh Varma's film moves in a mood defiantly opposite to the hero's indolent indiscretions. Tightly-scripted, cleverly-worded and arrestingly encrypted Mickey Virus drags the hackers' hemisphere into the hectic mode.

I am tempted to use computer jargon to describe the ultra-svelte moves that define the virtual progression of this slickly-executed cyber-drama. Alas, I am not as equipped as our debutant hero and his comp-friendly pals (with names like 'Floppy' and 'Chutney') to throw around electronic jargon. Never mind! Even if your familiarity with the virtual world is minimal, Mickey Virus makes for enjoyable viewing. It's voguish vibrant, vital and viral, and yet extremely fastidious about keeping the plot above the temptation of throwing virtual weight around.

First and foremost this a well-woven thriller about an average 20-something Delhi dude who falls in love and falls into a cyber-trap and hits his head into a scam that could destroy his life. Costa-Gavras on a Shoojit Sircar mission? To reveal any more of the plot would be akin to giving away the film's USPs. Suffice it to say that the debutant director knows his cinema as closely as he knows his computer. He weaves cinematic elements into a kind of one-night-in-the-life-of … tale that spins in dizzying motions. If Sudhir Mishra had made this film it would be titled Iss Raat Ki Cyber Nahin.

Delhi, that favourite sheher of many recent, decent and indecent, dramas and thrillers, is again caught in sinister provocative postures. The roads and lanes, Nehru Place or a chowmein outlet, every outdoor location has a story to tell. Strange, how Manish Paul, switching effortlessly from his cocky on-stage antics on reality shows to a kind of languorous screen appearance that is dangerously close to Ranbir Kapoor's Sid-meets-Besharam act, pulls out all stops to make Mickey look real to the point of being your next door neighbour's son, much in the same way as Ayushmann Khurrana. Only, Manish is goofier, more adventurous in his exploration of adrift urbanite. He is undoubtedly an interesting actor with an unpremeditated screen presence.

Let's put it this way – if over-instruction obstructs Mickey's dexterity on the computer, then too many rehearsals are sure to spoil Manish Paul's camera-friendliness. It remains to be seen where Manish Paul takes his wastrel's insouciance next. Mickey Virus gives the debutant a chance to romance the dark side of youngistan with unselfconscious fluidity. There is also a cutely written romance woven into the hacker's tale. Eli Avram currently locked away in Bigg Boss house shows up as a manifestation of… well, Manish Paul's virtual fantasy named Kungfu Chameli. There is an endearing courtship plan blessedly not over-punctuated by songs. God Forbid! Manish's Mickey probably doesn't even watch Bollywood films! For a newcomer to shoulder a thriller adeptly there must be some accomplished actors around him for support. Manish Paul, lucky sod, gets his namesake Manish Choudhary as a stern placid police officer who needs Mickey's hacking skills to crack an international gang. Choudhary is in fine (uni)form. But the very talented Varun Badola as Choudhary's assistant is a scene stealer. Mouthing the film's catchiest lines casually, Badola brings more to his role than what's written for the character. The rest of the supporting cast too gets into the mood of the plot.

Undoubtedly Mickey Virus is Manish Paul's made-to-order vehicle. He casually invites us into his suddenly-troubled world and then persuades us to cringe at the progressive crisis built around Delhi's cyber stratosphere. The uniqueness of the plot works effectively in covering up the loopholes and rather embarrassing coincidences that bridge various dramatic elements in the plot. It does get far-flung. But the leaps are made without fractured bones.

Quirky, colourful, frenetic, agile and hectic Mickey Virus is a 'virtually' interesting way for Manish Paul and his director Saurabh Varma to start their careers. This is an oddball of a movie that tries to make sense of the senseless whirligig of urban internet-driven lifestyles.

What the 'hack'! Just go out there and have fun.

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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