This poorly made thriller is a failed attempt to pay homage to Shankar's Aparichithudu
Gautham and Shruti are a happily married couple until a road mishap messes with their lives. While Gautham ends up at a hospital and gains consciousness only a couple of days after the incident, Shruti is nowhere to be seen. Gautham still has his share of doubts about the mysterious nature of the accident and is restlessly trying to trace Shruti's whereabouts with the help of his brother-in-law Teja and his friend. ACP Tyagi, who's handling the case, is puzzled by the absence of any clues that may lead him to Shruti. Another television journalist Meena too is doing her part to find answers.
Twists may be a key reason for a viewer to stay glued to a thriller, but it doesn't mean that a film is loaded with one every half an hour to keep someone invested in the proceedings. Missing, despite having a decent premise, is undone by an ambiguous narrative. The characterisation is strange, the acting is painfully amateurish, the execution worse. There's zilch authenticity in the setting minus any attention to detail. Although the film attains some momentum in the latter half, it's too late to steer the ship in the right direction.
A regular missing case in the story is unnecessarily hyped as if it's a sensational occurrence. Every channel is behind it, the cops conduct press meets for trivial reasons and sound as if they have startling revelations to make. The protagonist even begins investigating the case ahead of the police. It's strange how Gautham has an answer to everything. The journalism backdrop is almost laughable; Meena thinks of her so highly as if she's finding answers to the world's biggest mysteries. Nothing about the story feels believable, the craft is almost absent.
Missing relies on shock value to create an impact though it falls flat on its face mostly. There are conflicting backstories to the lead character and every time you think you know something, there lands another twist to prove your assumption wrong. There's a thread about partial memory loss, a love story that remains forgotten, moving on to dissociative identity disorder and dealing with corrupt cops. It just gets tiring beyond a point. Was the director's intent to prove his intelligence or to tell a story? One may not know but you don't care about it either.
If you manage to survive the first hour (which is highly unlikely), there may be a few silver linings that can hold your interest briefly. The loud background score and ill-timed songs are a dampener. It's not wrong at all to pay homage to a popular film like Aparichithudu but a film needs to have its own merit to stay afloat. You'll likely be tempted to watch the Shankar film again to recover from this experience (the thought itself feels like therapy).
There's nothing that convinces you about Harsha Narra's acting chops or his ability to headline this (miserable) film - you never get to understand the character's trauma. The acting is so mechanical and robotic that his reactions to situations are unintentionally funny. Nikkesha is no better and the childish behaviour of her character is annoying, while her dubbing also has sync issues.
Misha Narang, as the journalist, is the more tolerable one among the two female leads. Ramdutt, as the cop, could've had an interesting part if only the writers made an effort to flesh it out better. Actors like Surya, Chatrapathi Sekhar, as dependable as ever, are good in their brief roles.
Missing has nothing going for it. The terrible execution, miserable performances and poor writing get to your nerves. In the hands of a better filmmaker and a lead actor, we may have had a passable thriller on the cards. You can safely 'miss' this and thank me later!