‘Footfairy’ Movie Review: Gulshan Devaiah’s murder-mystery puts its foot in the mouth of mediocrity
Nitin Upadhyaya, Anurag Bedi
Sagarika Ghatge, Gulshan Devaiah, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Ashish Pathode
Bollywood Bubble Rating
A psychopath serial killer on the run, a bunch of investigating officers tailing him and innocent potential victims under threat; this is a premise that has been done to death (pun intended). What distinguishes a good serial killer mystery is the way it’s crafted and the way its characters are sketched. Serial killer stories are more about its characters than the story itself, the more charming and enigmatic is your killer, the higher are the stakes involved for everyone. The Kanishk Verma directorial, “Footfairy” is everything you shouldn’t do while making a film in this genre. The film is a story of a serial killer, who murders his young girls and later, cleaves their foot and keeps them as a souvenir to satisfy his fetishes.
Stretched over 115 minutes, the film is plagued by multiple problems of which the writing comes first. The basic structure of the film rests heavily on crippled storytelling and, weak, throwaway dialogues that fail to leave any mark. The lazily written film opens with the serial killer cornering a victim in a secluded spot as he ruthlessly kills her by the process of asphyxiation before severing her foot with a saw. The victim’s struggle hasn’t been portrayed properly and the suffocation happens in a fraction of a second. It neither comes across as authentic nor does it make you feel for her. This comes across as a half-hearted establishment for a dreaded killer. Besides this, never for once you see the killer taunting or teasing the officers tailing him. Quite unidimensional for a serial killer ain’t it? What adds insult to the injury is the poor staging of scenes. The sequences in some scenes are too convenient and feel like the writer hit the dead end of the character’s route.
The film features the amazing Gulshan Devaiah, Sagarika Ghatge, Kunal Roy Kapur and Ashish Pathode. All the actors have been underutilized. You gotta feel bad for Gulshan as he tries really hard to inject some sense in this otherwise bland crime thriller through his performance which keeps on hitting the roadblocks because of poorly written dialogues. Sagarika’s character of Gulshan’s love interest doesn’t have much to offer either majorly because of the stale characterisation. Ashish, who plays the regular sidekick to the lead investigating officer of Gulshan is slightly better than the average. However, Kunal Roy Kapur’s character brings in some sort of relief to the story before falling back into the same pit as other characters of this film.
Technically too, the film doesn’t impress; the cinematography is poorly done. The extreme use of hyper-lapse and time-lapse makes you feel nauseated; no, not because of the thrill but because of boredom. The shot taking feels, “visionless” at many instances and that is a dangerous thing for any cinematographer. Sound design and folley too are pretty far from being genuine and feel like they’ve been done for the heck of it. Production design and art department scream for attention like you could see a copy of ‘Mindhunter’, purposely kept in Vivan’s cabin. It feels like these departments are trying to segregate themselves from the embarrassment that the film’s direction brings along with itself. However, the film has its moment albeit a very few like I saw a good unintentional joke when the police catch a cabbie, who tried to run away from the police after his ganja was caught. Ganja, CBI…. poetic during these times, I must say.
At one point, after dragging for a while, the film becomes predictable and you sort of slip into the content library in your brain after realizing that you have seen something similar. In the process of digging out old records from here, I figured out that Kanishk Verma tried to pull off the Korean classic, ‘Memories of Murder’ within the Indian context but, sadly he doesn’t come anywhere close to the brilliance of its inspiration.
‘Footfairy’ doesn’t ask too many questions and quite understandably doesn’t bother to answer them even (in a bad way). But, despite all its flaws, there is something that I honestly liked in the film; the closing shot before the credits. I liked the thought behind multiple railway tracks leading to infinity. Perhaps, the only reason I’m giving this one a slightly better rating. I am going with 2 stars.