Despite being set in a bank, it's ironic that the film never pays off, as it promises.
K Madhu's 'Banking Hours' has three young men (Nishanth Sagar, Arun and Kiran Raj) planning to rob a bank and things go awry. Things do look pretty much screwed up for us as well, and within no time the film itself ends up like the badly planned heist job that we get to see on screen.
The film is set in a new generation bank called Lemo Bank, where it seems like just another busy working day, until a murder happens. One of the customers, Ajay Vasudevan (Kailash) is found slain with a blade when the power supply goes off for a few seconds.
It starts off quite shakily, what with the film trying to delve into the lives of some of the bank customers. There is Merrin (Shafna) along with her dad (Shankar) trying to meet up with her lover Rahul (Munna) for one last time, before her father shifts her to Wagamon. Lekshmi (Lekshmipriya), who is in need of some money to help her brother pay his fees, is at the bank to pawn gold, without her husband getting any wind of her decision.
There is a group of techies (Biyon, Vishnupriya and a few others) who have come by to inquire about the proceedings of a car loan, while a priest (Ashokan) is around as well to cash a cheque. Having been informed that a robbery is likely to take place in the bank, there are a few cops (Anoop Menon, Jishnu Raghavan and Tini Tom) undercover in the bank as well.
As the murder happens, the focus shifts from the anticipated burglary to the immediate crime that has been committed. As its obvious that the murder has been committed by a person who is still inside the bank, the cops kick start the investigation in no time.
It's only through very clever scripting that one can make a film like 'Banking Hours' work. Because the identification of the culprit is not as exciting any more as it once used to be during the 'CBI' days. The viewers today have been exposed to all possible permutations and combinations when it comes to murder mysteries, and could very easily point out the man behind the crime, even before the clues have been laid out.
Unfortunately, nothing of the sort ever happens in this film, and the script offers no fresh surprises. On the contrary, it does take a while to get moving, what with the frequent flashback sessions to establish each of the characters that we get to see on screen. And once it does, the dialogues turn out be another huge let down.
There is nothing much to be excited about the performances either. Anoop Menon carries on with his cop act in 'Traffic', but is incapacitated by the tedious dialogues. Meghna Raj, who repeats her cop act in 'August 15' has to deal with the same. The rest of the cast come up with adequate performances, as is expected of them by the meandering script.
'Banking Hours' lacks that vital spark that should keep the spirit up in whodunits. Despite being set in a bank, it's ironic that the film never pays off, as it promises.
1.9 out of 5 (Average)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good