There is a missing dead body. A murder. A clandestine cover-up. And then, there is the proverbial plot twist. With all this, it is easy to understand why director Jeethu Joseph decided to make his Bollywood debut with The Body. For someone who made Drishyam, this film should have been a walk in the park. However, it is anything but. The Body, an official remake of the 2012 Spanish film El Cuerpo, begins with flashes of an accident, and a flustered cop SP Jairaj Rawal (Rishi Kapoor) waking up from a dream about crashing cars.
The body of famous businesswoman Maya Varma (Sobhita Dhulipala) has gone missing from the morgue, and Jairaj is assigned the case. Jairaj believes Maya’s husband, Ajay Puri (Emraan Hashmi) is involved in the theft. Ajay is briefly convinced he is in The Sixth Sense universe and is capable of seeing dead people. But then, he is confused because a rational part of him believes Maya isn’t dead. Interestingly, Jairaj also sees dead people, but doesn’t believe Ajay has similar powers.
In between all this, there is Ritu (Vedhika Kumar), who is romantically involved with Ajay. Interestingly, The Body doesn’t stick to one genre. It switches between beinga supernatural thriller, a murder mystery, a relationship drama, and a he-done-it-but-oops-she-isalive. Despite itstaut runtime of 104 minutes, The Body is all over the place.
What keeps the film somewhat cohesive are the performances of Emraan and Rishi, who try their best to sell the incredulous happenings on screen. Emraan’s Ajay is scared, confused, and ironically (in the film’s context), chivalrous. One standout scene has him fishing out a letter from a dirty commode and contemplating shoving it down his throat. He sells that disgust as convincingly as he expresses his exasperation over Maya’s sick humour.
If Emraan delivers a balanced performance that is almost effective, Rishi Kapoor continues the golden run of his second innings as an actor.Not only does Rishi look the part of a wizened old-school cop,he also lends it a weird sense of humour. I was in splits when the veteran actor makes fun of Emraan’s trademark snigger. It was a scene that sprung up completely out of the blue. It is this novelty that The Body desperately needed more of. The final reveal, something that Jeethu excelled at in Drishyam, isn’t particularly impressive in The Body. Another setback for the film is the way the investigation unfolds conveniently, insteadof being the product ofclever detective work.
The writing is at its weakest in these portions, and it results in Rishi Kapoor going missing for extended periods. Emraan is a good actor, but the strain of shouldering the film shows. Though Sobhita gets to play the titular role, she has little to do other than look smouldering, pining, and scheming at the switch of a button. Vedhika, too, is mostly relegated to reactinglike a deer in headlights. AlthoughThe Body falls flat in one sequence too many, it does make you think of the could-have-beens and what-ifs. But a thriller that leaves room for such speculationsis clearly not very engaging. For all its seemingly palpable tension, its weak and predictable screenplay leavesThe Body... weighted andcold.