Emraan Hashmi attempts to revive his flagging career by adding another qualification to his resume: “Invisible man who can be spotted in the sun’s glare and blue light”. But just like a former item girl can never make the transition to leading woman without being reminded of her hip-rumbling past, no Hashmi movie can be complete without the moment when he transforms his lips into a minor suction pump and proceeds to drain the life out of his leading lady.

Hashmi’s lips behave obligingly in Mr X, but his eyes are as dead as ever. He disappears in more ways than one in Vikram Bhatt’s movie, whose title refers to the Kishore Kumar movie Mr X in Bombay from 1964 and whose special effects are inspired by Paul Verhoeven’s Hollow Man. Hashmi’s Raghu is a member of the world’s most understaffed anti-terrorism squad in the history of anti-terrorism squads. Together with partner and lover Sia (Amyra Dastur), Raghu saves lives, but his own is threatened when his crooked boss Bharadwaj (Arunoday Singh), in cahoots with the chief minister’s son, forces Raghu to take the fall for an assassination.

Raghu becomes invisible through a torturous sequence of events and seeks revenge. Sia, convinced he has gone rogue, does not fall in with his scheme, but that might also be because Raghu, despite several opportunities, never properly explains to her just what in the Almighty’s name is going on.

Invisible hero and a missing plot

With dialogue that should never have left the page and television-worthy special effects (the movie is also in 3D), Mr X has nothing to fall back on except Hashmi’s carefully cultivated image of a man of dangerous and irresistible charm. This alleged magnetism is conveyed in the most literal-minded way possible (the lips play a role), and Hashmi has little else to do other than stand by and let Amyra Dastur, previously seen in Issak in 2013, grab the lion’s share of scenes and dialogue.

The joke about Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India was that it should have been called Miss India instead because its female lead, Sridevi, dominated the movie over co-star Anil Kapoor. Not that Mr X would have not been any more interesting is it were Ms X. For that, it would need a plot that is a tad more visible.