The concept of this film, without a doubt, must have been exciting on paper. A murder mystery, hostage drama along with a heist, is what gives an impetus to thrillers and this film has it all, except that it trudges on a convoluted, verbose plot, filled with plot-holes and poor characterisation.
Directed by Saurabh Varma, the film, with a snazzy prologue begins with a promise of a murder mystery, where - Arjun Ranavat, a witness to the murder of Seema -- the mistress of Kabeer Khemka, a scion of a prominent construction giant, in Muzaffarpur, Bihar -- comes to Mumbai to look for work.
A police informer pitches his story to a News Channel, which is readymade fodder for instant fame, for Arjun is willing to identify the accused. But that's not the bottom line.
Instead, when Arjun lands up at Bombay High Court, he recreates the murder scene and takes the Mumbai police by surprise, when he holds seven hostages, threatening to kill one, every hour. He gives the police seven hours to solve the murder case. But again, that is not the bottom line.
The promise soon crumbles, when subtlety is lost and the director thrusts, his oft quoted, "game of misdirection" concept on the audience too. The intricately complex path gets tedious to even let the audience bother about the real motive, which is so weakly presented.
The first half of the film is tolerable, but it is during the second half that the director seems to have lost the plot. Quite literally.
While the tale is designed as a thriller, the director has infused oodles of light moments with behind the scenes action involving his characters. This defuses the momentum of suspense and the thrill in the narration.
The film is supposed to be about the hostages, but their anxiety or anguish is never shown. The only scenes with them are half-hearted and lukewarm.
"7 Hours To Go" is technically polished but definitely weak on the script. The characters are poorly developed and paper thin.
Especially jarring is the Assistant Commissioner of Police Dhadke who behaves like an uncouth Inspector and his assistant Inspector Ghorpade, too is a caricature. Their demeanour makes the entire narrative unconvincing.
Varun Badola as the irritating and exasperating ACP Dhadke is flawless as an actor. So is Shiv Pandit who essays the role of Arjun Ranawat, a noir-protagonist, convincingly.
Sandeepa Dhar as the agile and competent ACP Shukla who is investigating the case, is effortless. Natasa Stankovic as Maya has hardly anything to offer, due to her limited screen presence.
Radio City's Jockey Rohit Vir debuts as the antagonist with flourish. His schizophrenic flunkey act too leaves a lasting impression, but unfortunately both of them are lost in the complicated narrative.
Himanshu Malik as the sharpshooter Tamim Chakri and Vipin Sharma as the hostage are wasted due to their poorly written characters.
Watch "7 Hours To Go" only if you have two hours with nothing better to do.