Haven’t seen Barbet Schroeder’s 1992 thriller Single White Female starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh? Well, then there’s a chance, bleak albeit, that you might end up liking its desi rip-off, Jagmohan Mundhra’s movie Apartment. For how many times do we see a Plain Jane turn into a mean fox in Bollywood films?
In ‘Apartment’ it’s Neetu Chandra who holds your attention playing the foxy in a kitten’s skin. Tanushree Dutta mostly glowers and scowls as the air hostess who kicks out her live-in boyfriend Rohit Roy just on the suspicion that he is cheating on her. Enters Neetu, a small-town Miss dowdy with twin plaits and bashful demeanour as Tanushree’s new tenant. Soon Neetu and Tanu become best of chums. Neetu dedicatedly and dutifully throws herself into caring for her didi Tanu but she gradually and obsessively takes over her entire life - her clothes, her apartment and even her boyfriend. And she doesn’t stop at that.
The basic problem with ‘Apartment’ is that it doesn’t have an element of shock or surprise. A viewer can clearly foresee what’s going to happen next. Even the truth about Neetu’s mental condition, unravelled much later in the movie, doesn’t hit you like a bolt from the blue. Not even the killings by the schizophrenic foxy send as much as a shiver down your spine.
So what exactly works in ‘Apartment’? Well, a few sporadic moments, and Neetu Chandra to some extent though she’s also not above the hamming that marks almost every other performance in the film. Tanushree sticks to a few selected expressions. Rohit Roy is surprisingly better than what you expect from him. Anupam Kher as the genial neighbour is wasted in an insignificant role.
Jagmohan Mundhra even throws in some cheap titillation to add spice to the plot, but frankly the thrills and chills in this ‘Apartment’ are few and far between.