Recall Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin. The turn of events in a single night kept you on tenterhooks all through the film. Payback has a different plot line, but like Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, the story unfolds in one night. But the similarities end there. Frankly, Payback had the ingredients to be a riveting fare, but the mundane writing plays the spoilsport.
I've often said that most Hindi films sound damn interesting on paper. I am sure, the concept of Payback must've come across as fresh and innovative during story discussions, but the film comes down like a house of cards because the interesting idea becomes an uninteresting and unexciting screenplay, which tells on the film eventually. In fact, the film falls prey to predictability as it progresses.
Kunal [Munish Khan], who works for an insurance firm, loves Ishita [Sara Khan], an architect. One fateful night, Kunal meets with a fatal accident. While he lies in a pool of blood, no passerby cares to stop and attend to him. Kunal, still conscious, is losing hope, when Raghu [Zakir Hussain] stops to help him. Raghu admits Kunal to a hospital and disappears into thin air. For Kunal, Raghu is an angel.
Three months later, Kunal accidentally meets Raghu and invites him over to his place. The next night, when Raghu appears at Kunal's doorstep with a bullet shot in his shoulder, Kunal impulsively decides to help him out. But as the night progresses, Kunal gets to know that Raghu might have been a savior for him, but is actually an assassin. Kunal is in a dilemma. When things get dangerous and Ishita is also dragged into it, Kunal is forced to make a decision -- how far he will go to repay Raghu's debt?
Despite a hackneyed screenplay, which alternates between realistic and filmy situations, I'd like to single out director Sachin P. Karande's execution of the material. It's effective at places. A few chase sequences [action: Firoz N Boss] catch your attention. Background score is appropriate. There's just one song in the film, 'Jee Le', which is foot-tapping. The cinematography [Parvez Pathan] is just right, but the constant moving of camera, even during close-ups, tends to get irritating.
Munish Khan does reasonably well. Zakir Hussain is, as always, competent. Sara Khan doesn't get any scope. In fact, the romance between Munish and Sara is missing in the story. Mukesh Tiwari is effective. Gulshan Grover leaves an impression. Hrishikesh Joshi is just perfect.
On the whole, Payback could've been an interesting fare, but is let down by an inconsistent screenplay.
Payback cast & crew:
Director: Sachin P. Karande
Producer: Sarosh Khan
Starring: Munish Khan, Sara Khan, Gulshan Grover, Zakir Hussain, Mukesh Tiwari, Hrishikesh Joshi and Kunal Kumar
Music: Dev Sikandar