Directed by Aditya Datt and starring Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal & Tena Desae in lead roles, Table No 21 is among the first releases of the 100th year of Bollywood. It was promoted as an interesting thriller with a difference. What caught you in the promos was Paresh Rawal’s new avatar. So does it work? Let’s check it out.

The story goes like this –

Vivaan (Rajeev) and Siya (Tena) set out on all expenses paid trip to the Fiji islands. With its scenic beauty, clean blue waters and tranquil atmosphere, Fiji would be the ultimate destination for a young people. Just as they begin to enjoy, they encounter Abdul Razzaq Khan (Paresh Rawal) who is the owner of their resort. He invites them to a game where they have to answer 8 questions with an answer as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and the winner gets a prize money of Rs 21crores. As the game progresses, the questions get more personal and start putting them in a spot. Both Vivaan and Siya feel helpless and confused on how to get out of all this. Who is Razzaq? What’s the real intention of the game? What happens to Vivaan and Siya? The rest of the flick deals with all this and more.

The concept is quite interesting. The flick starts off with the conventional bikini clad song just so that the viewers can see the beaches of Fiji. But then things get serious as the story moves onto the game show. The questions are simple initially. But then as they start getting personal, the difficulty level of tasks associated with them increases as well. The pace is relatively slow at times but the ‘what-happens-next’ feeling keeps the viewer hooked on. The last 30 minutes culminate into a stunning climax and this is the best part as the movie ends with a very relevant message.

At no point in the story, there are unnecessary interruptions like an item song, a love song or anything of that kind. Since there are only 3 principal characters to the story, it makes for easy viewing. The set of flashbacks associated with different tasks add another layer to the narrative which catches the attention of the viewer. The locales of Fiji are captured quite well. There are not too many songs and ‘Mann Mera‘ takes the cake.

On the flip-side, the movie seems to have borrowed different elements from a different set of Hollywood flicks whether be it ‘Saw’ or ‘Jumanji’. The initial questions and tasks seem slightly lame in comparison to the prize money offered.

Paresh Rawal is undoubtedly the star of this one. His hairstyle, dialogues, persona, everything seem perfect for the part. With a role that may neither qualify as white or black, he turns out a bravura performance. In his short career, Rajeev Khandelwal has shown his penchant for selecting different kinds of roles. And in this one too, he does quite a good job from being a man much in love to someone whose helpless as the world goes upside down around him. Tena Desae manages to efficiently get into the skin of her character.

All in all, quite a good watch. Recommended!

Rating – 3.5/5