‘Missing’ is a bit too detailed for a mystery movie, but holds your attention nevertheless. It is about a womanising corporate type who finally hits on a woman way out of his league. As a result, he ties himself into many knots of embarrassment and much trouble with the law. He is happily married with a son, but out on a beach resort across the blue waters of Mauritius, he loses his inhibitions and flirts with anyone in a dress or a Sari, including the hotel receptionist who checks him in with the woman he says is his wife.
Manoj Bajpayee, as Sushant Dubey, occasionally overdoes the leering Indian businessman looking for a little fun, but the story is told energetically and the suspense sustained till the last scene. The couple, Sushant and Aparna (Tabu) arrive by ship with a three year old daughter in tow. The baby is unwell and cries the whole night, disturbing the man sleeping in the room below. When the couple wake up the next morning, the little girl is missing. A search is called out by the hotel management, but she is nowhere to be found. In complete panic, Aparna overrules her husband and telephones the Police.
Enter a hot shot Mauritian Police Officer, Inspector Buddhu (Annu Kapoor), the solver of many murder mysteries on the island. He speaks French, as do many people here, and after various exclamatory declarations of ‘S’il vous plaît’ and ‘voilà’ while listening to the story of the missing girl, he starts getting suspicious of Sushant’s story, while remaining quite enamoured of Aparna’s version. Playing it like Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, with a smattering of French exclamations expressing nothing, he doesn’t believe that a beautiful woman with a missing daughter is deserving of anything but the deepest sympathy, ‘mon ami’.
Annu Kapoor is clearly the star of the show in the second half of the movie. With his acquired mannerisms and his old world charm, he plays it well. But he is nowhere near a performer as Tabu is. The gift she has is of getting an audience to underestimate or misjudge her character almost every single time. She plays most of her role in such low key that you hardly notice her, till her baby goes missing. Even then, she is just a distraught mother in anguish at the inability of the hotel staff or the Police to find Titli, the beautifully named little girl.
‘Missing’ is shot in a serene location, three actors of calibre hold your attention, and though the dialogue is sometimes a little too obvious and in your face, you still listen to the conversation, quite engrossed. Overall, the film is a decent watch.