Bollywood’s most beautiful actress Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s first film in five years, post marriage and motherhood, is a star vehicle designed to showcase her questionable acting skills. ‘Ash’ is Anu, a high-flying stiletto wearing single mum lawyer whose clients are rich guilty scumbags (‘the innocent cannot afford my fees’). When her daughter is kidnapped, the ransom demand is that Anu must defend a rapist-murderer and get him acquitted. With the help of jaded bent cop and old friend Yohan (Irfan Khan), Anu sets about her insurmountable task.
Unlike in the Korean original ‘Seven Days’ (2007) in which the protagonist was given a week in order to prepare for the case, Anu is given just four. Director Sanjay Gupta still nurses a Tarantino/Fincher hang-up and some wannbe feminist and artistic pretensions. His indulgent use of sepia-tinted frames, fish-eye lenses and endless rain and slow motion shots becomes rather tiresome when it is used for the umpteenth time. Even more annoying is the claptrap dialogue, which preaches about the virtue of motherhood, the plight of rape victims and the dangers of drug use. Ravishing Rai screams and shouts and adopts blood-shot eyes to convey anguish. Gupta’s lack of subtlety and in-depth characterization results in a slick but soulless ‘Law and Order’-style thriller. Indeed, taken straight as a fast-paced hokum whodunit, it’s engaging. But don't bother to stick around for the final credits: as an afterthought Gupta tacks on an unnecessary romantic subplot.