In one the first scenes in “Shab”, a young man from a small town comes to Delhi to take part in a pageant. He struts confidently in front of the judges, unaware that his small-town accent and gauche demeanour put him at a serious disadvantage in the competition. The film exemplifies its protagonist. It is so blind to its faults and so engrossed in what it thinks is profundity that it doesn’t realise it is unintentionally hilarious.
There are some films that start off wrong but grow on you. Characters that seemed odd at first gradually fit into the tapestry of the movie, making them believable. But nothing like that happens in “Shab”, which unravels under the weight of its own pretentiousness as it hurtles towards its conclusion.
Rohan (Ashish Bisht) is a small-town boy who wants to make it big as a model. He catches the eye of Sonal Modi (Raveena Tandon), a rich socialite who is on the lookout for a boy toy. Director Onir weaves a cast of characters around Rohan’s life – a gay restaurant owner, a melancholic Frenchman, and a troubled neighbour.
All these people are living double lives and are struggling to come to terms with their situation, but “Shab” is happy giving them lip service. The dialogue is theatrical, the acting mediocre and less said about the screenplay, the better.
Onir confines Delhi to one street – everyone visits one cafe, one hotel and constantly runs into one another. There are too many contrivances and very little genuine emotion for the film to work at any level. This feels like a college skit that mistakenly made it to the big screen.