"Private Detective"
eated by Rajat Kapoor

The world is our beat... no, really...

Private Detective: Two Plus Two Plus One is a low budget Indian movie, made for Indian television, the first full-length feature film directed by Rajat Kapoor, now a well-respected Indian actor, writer and director, featuring both Irrfan Khan and Naseeruddin Shah.

Set in Bombay, by most accounts it was an impressive debut, boastingi strong art direction and a solid cast; a dark, twitchy little tribute to Hitchcock and film noir, full of plot twists, great local colour and a solid cast, including Nasserudin offering up a quirky, downbeat performance as the unnamed private detective who's hired by a suspicious husband (Kenneth Desai) to tail his wife (Kashmera Shah), whom he suspects of having an affair.

Sure enough, she's having a fling with his best friend, and the P.I. soon delivers all the photographic proof a cuckold could want. The husband pays the detective off, and that's that.

And then his wife is shot dead, and the photographs end up in the hands of the cops.

But the detective, despite the title role, isn't really the center of the film, but merely another fly (and possibly a patsy) caught in a tangled web of adultery, betrayal and murder. In fact, neither the private eye nor homicide Inspector Khan (played by Irrfan Khan) seem to have any better idea than anybody else about what's really going on, giving the film a deliciously off-kilter, disquieting tone any noir fan will immediately recognize. And any real noir fan should appreciate the off-beat setting, with its lush tropical forests, intense sunlight and bright -- they're so unexpected in a genre so steeped in gloom and underlit doom that the vibe is even more unsettling.


    aka "Do Jama Do Jama Ek"
    (1997; Cinematograph [India])
    130 minutes
    Language: Hindi, English subtitles
    Screenplay by Rajat Kapoor
    Kamal Swaroop
    Directed by
    Rajat Kapoor
    Starring Nasurraden Shah as "PRIVATE DETECTIVE"
    Irrfan Khan as
    Inspector Khan
    Also starring
    Shambhavi Kaul, Keneth Desai, Alyy Khan, Rajendra Mehra, Homi Seth


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And special thanks to Chris Baldemor for the lead.

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