The story in Charles aur main is as elusive as the great criminal Charles Sobhraj himself. It shows itself, hides then shows us a peek then jumps back and forth till we are as confused as the police of Delhi Goa and Maharashtra were while trying to capture the man.
So the first half is spent in trying to establish the character of the man and the second half actually tells us the story. Why these two things couldn't happen simultaneously, which would have also made the whole thing very interesting is beyond me. Anyway, so in the first half we have Charles giving mysterious smiles and seducing various women on the Goa beach as the story jumps back and forth schizophrenically. One minute we are in Thailand, the next in Goa the next in jail and so on. If you catch a few winks in this half it's ok, you won't miss much.
In the second half the story starts getting interesting as the case against him gets framed. The other accomplices speak up and then you see the amazing complexity of the man and marvel at his talent to hypnotize people into doing his bidding. The second half is also when all those crazy sequences from the first half begin to get explained and the noose around him tightens.
The movie is moodily shot, the background music (Aditya Trivedi)is suitably thrillerish and builds the tension well. In fact, it is one of the highpoints of the movie. Even the old song 'Jab chhaye mera jadoo' sounds good though it was really not necessary in the movie.
Randeep Hooda does a great job of his French accent and looks dapper in the berets and the leather jacket. He is calm sophistication and I rather enjoyed watching him. Richa Sharma as the law student madly in love with him also puts up a great show, staunchly defending "mera Charles" in the face of overwhelming evidence against him. Adil Hussain as Amod Kanth the Police commissioner fighting the case is very good and so is Nandu Madhav as Inspector Zhende who as Sobhraj predicted became famous as the man who captured him.
The second half of the movie redeems it and makes it watchable. Curiosity about Sobhraj would drive a lot of us to the theaters anyway. This movie is worth a watch to see a master criminal at work. Just bear with the first half. After all, master plans don't get made very quickly.