They are all beautiful, bad actors in a beautiful, bad universe. Bad universe, not just because of the things that happen- murder, kidnapping, adultery; bad, also because it’s just not well done. The police are bumbling idiots, the set design has red car replicas next to expensive porcelain pots, a harp, and Renaissance portraits, and every time characters kiss, a wind machine has been placed in front of them. It’s luxuriant, but quite awful.
Neha Singh (Bipasha Basu), a police officer who has just relocated from Manchester to London, is already put on a case. A rich man’s wife is missing. The man, she finds out, is her ex-lover, Aditya Dhanraj (Karan Singh Grover). Both Grover and Basu have a stale presence, so beautiful, yet so un-moving. Everything is expressed through their wide-open doe-eyes. The sexual chemistry is as frigid as the London winter, and if you thought the sex would be worth the awful build-up, it’s not.
From a writer’s perspective this spells doom because from the onset we are not introduced to them as lovers but as individuals leading their own love-lorn life. While there are attempts to make one feel-the-love by having them stare each other down with slow music playing, this kind of stuff stopped working a few decades ago. Love is conversation, comfort, and ease, not background music signalling them. The one time Aditya tells Neha “I love you”, it feels so frigid and rehearsed, you wonder if professing love to one’s real lover in front of the camera is easier. (Basu and Grover are married.)
The wife is found to be an adulteress, and Dhanraj’s best friend, who also chauffeurs her is thought to be the man of her passions. From here the plot swerves in all directions, blame moves around like spin-the-bottle, and is also placed on people as arbitrarily. You stop looking for logic, when the characters start asking for it, because the reply is always warped, and makes you double-down on what you just heard. You let it go, because perhaps this film is not about the logic, but something less clothed, more obvious.
But then you’re proven wrong, because the sex comes like a reluctant love-track. After necking one another, Neha is ashamed and runs to the open window, her hands open, resting on the pane, looking like Jesus Christ in her robe. There’s nothing “explosive” here, and Basu in her interviews mentioned categorically, that this is not an erotic film. Then what is it?
Mahesh Bhatt used to speak of kissing as something that just had to be done to hook-line-fish an audience into a film; something to be done within the first twenty minutes. Here, the sex, reluctant, and limp, comes towards the end, almost as if they just had to put it in; a sense of compulsion. Perhaps this is Vikram Bhatt as a writer attempting something more cerebral, where sex is a means not an end to the story; something thrilling in the more conventional, clothed way. But this just feels like me giving the makers too much credit.
Dangerous was meant to be seen as a film, so it is written with an intermission in mind. But they seem to have chopped it into 7 episodes, about 15 minutes each, diluting whatever grip the story had from one episode to the next. This format is a smart reaction to our current viewing behaviour. No one watches movies in one-go, untethered from phone and food. So might as well watch it in byte-sized portions. To its credit, it’s a short watch, so it never becomes agonizing.
There is also something to be said about the tone, the background score. Neha is searching Aditya’s posh London house for clues. (What does Aditya even do for a living, all he is seen doing is mope and moan.) When she enters his room, there’s horror film music. She reaches for the first drawer which lo-and-behold happens to house a photo frame of Neha and Aditya, in the past, together. There’s a flashback and the background score changes to light nostalgia. Then, there’s a khachh of a knife, and we are brought back to the present, a shrill melancholic note and she heads to another drawer and lo-and-behold-er she finds the engagement ring she returned when they broke up. Romantic music again. Then horror. The versatile score is bumpy because versatility is never about being the sum of parts. You know what they say about things that try to be everything. They end up being nothing.