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The first impression of Mickey Virus is that it is trying too hard to be a Vicky Donor (2012). From the wannabe quirky first half, you can clearly decrypt its intentions. The corollary of this is that the first impression is also the last one. Post intermission, it decides to turn into a thriller, or at least tries extremely hard to be one. Ultimately, each ingredient seems forced, the by-products seem contrived and nothing lucrative is left as residue.
The film opens with a song, which goes something like “Pyaar china ka maal hai”. This annoying lyric is repeated endlessly throughout the rest of the film, finishing touches are given by dubstep. The opening song also has the G word in it, which is surprisingly not censored here, but when Honey Singh does it - it’s high treason. Soon, the exposition begins where the story and characters are spoon-fed to us. Each character is assigned nametags like “Professor, Floppy, Chutney” and other supposedly catchy markers. If that’s not enough, everybody gets a fun T-shirt to wear. Soon, we are made familiar with the unrealistic and oddly futuristic world of hackers based in Nehru Place (that’s the pirate bay of New Delhi). They use super cool lingo like backspace and buffer, in case we had any doubts that these are all genuine techies. All of this is accompanied with basic cyber noises on the soundtrack like the one you hear when a download finishes or when your laptop turns on. Exactly. Everything about this movie is trying way too hard.
Then the protagonist Mickey Arora falls in love which is when he starts stalking but it still continues to be boring. Finally the predictable plot kicks in when he is given an assignment by the police, to help them solve a series of murders related to certain hackers. The sinister band of hackers is called “Brahm Gang”. They apparently have a website. Okay then. That’s as much information as I wish to divulge and all you need to know to decide if this film is worth your time or not.
He’s clearly not Ayushmann Khurrana but Manish Paul is sometimes amusing, although mostly self-conscious and overly enthusiastic. Ellie Avram is largely used as a cosmetic prop. If she was going for something like Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science (1985) then maybe she was on to something but not really. Nitesh Pandey plays Professor and this device of having him pop up on the screen to give gyaan seems off-putting. The only actor I found delivering his lines without sounding unnatural was Varun Badola. He provides the funniest quips and is perhaps the only character that is remotely appealing. Puja Gupta could have been another interesting prospect but her character is kept on the periphery.
A film released earlier this year that I was reminded of was Fukrey. Its approach to the plot was extremely effortless. You could hang out with those characters and get to know them. It ditched flimsy attempts to capture our interest and instead chose to exist on the screen with an organic flow.
Director Suarabh Verma tries to apply some visual style to the film but the texture is tacky and seems like it was created in a cyber café from the late 90s. Then there is that shot of a face in the water popularized by Danny Boyle and imitated by Anurag Kashyap. I just don’t understand this shot. Who does that anyway? The one thing this film gets totally right is when there is a slow motion sequence, the music sounds like the theme from In the Mood For Love (2000), which is undeniably the best use of high-speed photography and is rightly synonymous with it.
The latter half of Mickey Virus continues to flap its hands in the water but now on the other end of the pool. The writers seek help of the ‘man wrongly accused of a crime’ plot. I sat up thinking maybe something will catch my interest now. This fizzled out soon as the plot goes for unpredictability but becomes increasingly convoluted and needlessly edgy. The basic rule of this kind of story is to keep it simple, the suspense arises from the situations and the audience must be kept up to speed, if not ahead.
One twist too many and I was still wondering where this was headed. After the film got over, I was wondering whether watching this whole concoction was worth it. Well, the straight answer is that it isn’t. This is when time could be easily passed by doing something more productive.