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A couple live a mediocre life and are thrilled to have won an exotic vacation to Fiji & their excitement increases when they get a chance to play "Tell all truth" game for a mind boggling prize money. The game begins and the couple discovers that the game isn't really a game, but is a game of survival. Written by
Its interesting & socially relevant too but remains a kind of remake of CHITKABREY (2011).
Aditya Datt's mysterious thriller opens with the explanation of its title on the screen which refers to the Article No. 21of the Indian Constitution talking about the "Right To Live and Personal Liberty". But since the film deals with a secret to be revealed in the end, therefore I would not like to talk about its story details here which may ruin your experience of watching this above average thriller, with thankfully something different to offer.
TABLE No.21 begins with some picturesque romantic moments lived in Fiji by the lead couple who are there on a trip won in some undisclosed contest. Once these initial routine 15 minutes are over, the film actually begins as soon as Paresh Rawal enters the scene with his exciting game of few questions (with a board reminding me of JUMANJI) and a prize money of 21 crores. Finding it interesting enough the couple readily agrees to the deal and start answering the questions truthfully to win the big prize. Performing new challenging tasks associated with every question asked, they start facing some unusual & surprising situations which in turn make the film quite engrossing and entertaining.
But post intermission, as the narration begins to go into the repetitive zone and the actual secret behind the game is exposed, it somehow reduces the overall impact of the build-up made by its first half. The social angle prominently there in its final moments doesn't turn out to be that explosive as one expects it to be. Therefore the moment you know it all, the game doesn't seem to be convincing enough and the whole set- up looks like quite weird and over the top. However the plus point of TABLE NO. 21 remains that, it at least tries to give you something fresh and unique moving ahead than the usual Bollywood stuff and its fixed formulas.
Having said that, this is not the first time such concept of a game has been used for an intense suspense thriller in Bollywood. In 2011, there was a small budget and not so well publicized film called CHITKABREY, which also had exactly the same plot with the socially relevant angle revealed in the end. Now the only difference here is that where CHITKABREY featured a game similar to the famous BIG BOSS format, the present TABLE No. 21 revolves around a game reminding you of the controversial SACH KA SAAMNA program. Probably Rajeev Khandelwal also got this film due to the reason that he was only the anchor of SACH KA SAAMNA show in reality too.
So in one way, it can also be called an unofficial remake of that unknown film of 2011 which was comparatively a pretty weak project with an amateurish cast. Honestly, its quite possible that the similarity being discussed here is purely unintentional or coincidental. And in case it really is then surely the culprit here is the trend wherein film-makers normally don't watch the new films released in the Hindi Film Industry itself due to their own distinctive reasons.
Progressing on an engaging track before its final 30 minutes, TABLE No. 21 tries to win over the audience through its well written narrative and surprises thrown in every 10-15 minutes of the film which only work in its first half. Musically you don't mind watching the few forgettable songs while enjoying the scenic beauty of Fiji captured well but Background Score could have been better as per the requirement of its theme. In other words, I strongly feel that if you are ready to gamble with a new subject then why not try giving it another edge with an innovative background music too.
The film completely relies on its 3 key characters, who perfectly suit their respective roles like 'T'. But I really didn't find anything new in the character portrayal by Paresh Rawal. He is good no doubt but there is nothing novel in his act which went against my own expectations from the veteran having a wide range. Rajeev Khandelwal on the other hand plays it well and one must praise the kind of projects he is choosing since his AAMIR. He has got the star-presence and looks quite natural playing the game with Paresh across the table. May be because he has already been through many similar sequences in his own TV show mentioned above. Tena Desae, as his wife, gives a fine performance and the girl does have some talent waiting to be exploited. Though she doesn't look stunning in all her outfits, but with some careful choices made she certainly can prove both her talent and confidence for sure.
Overall, TABLE NO. 21 makes a good impact till its intermission, drops towards the mid and then turns out to be less explosive than expected with a preachy kind of climax. It may disappoint you in the end too as one doesn't like to suddenly go into a 'Social mode' while watching an exciting mystery thriller. Moreover once you know the real truth, all that website business and cameras seem to be added deliberately into its narrative without any reason. Hence it can be seen once if you wish to try something fresh attempted in Hindi Films. But to say the truth, it's nothing more than a better version of CHITKABREY (released in 2011) with a finer vision, superior production values and a talented cast.
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