An alcoholic woman is murdered, and thus begins a process of deconstruction that takes the plot back to where it all started.
It’s hard to pinpoint where “Blue Oranges” begins. The director has chosen an intricate flashback-and-forth mode of storytelling that he isn’t always able to carry off with elan. But the art is in the right place…a part of the plot is devoted to the hazy world of fake paintings and names like M.F. Husain are mentioned in passing.
Our sullen hero Kevin (newcomer Aham Sharma), we are told in whispers, paints fakes. He also fakes emotions when the questioning gets too close for comfort.
He’s an enigma in a movie that unravels the mystery with insubstantial proof of its expertise.
Kevin probably murdered this rich alcoholic woman (Pooja Kanwal). The film’s sullen hero apparently didn’t show up for their wedding. But he shows up eight years later at her doorstep, his long-haired painter’s look replaced by short hair, spectacles and terse words that suggest he’s secretly unhappy.
Murder suspects pile up rather neatly. And the interrogation is done with a reasonable amount of expertise and restrain. No jokey cop-sidekicks, no item songs in smokey dens and no villains accumulating in the plot’s skyline like suspects lined up at the roadside.
At the vortex of this mildly engaging whodunit is a freelance investigative officer Nilesh (Rajit Kapoor) with a paraplegic daughter, who keeps reading books that no teenager should. In fact the girl gives the film its incongruous title. She’s the key to the puzzle of the murdered alcoholic woman who had men barging into her home unannounced.
If there are no highs in the narration, there are no plunging lows either. You come away from “Blue Oranges” hoping that murder victims in the future remember not to drive while drunk.
Caution is a predominant strain in the storytelling. The one stand-out performance comes from Rajit Kapoor who says the most oratorial line with the authority of a librarian who knows every book on the shelf by its binding.
The rest of the cast is passable, sometimes less. But that’s the way of the world. You win some, you lost most of it.