What a way to end the year, with a movie starring the late lamented Irrfan. What a pity that it had to be Murder at Teesri Manzil 302.

Navneet Baj Saini’s crime thriller, made in 2007 and released for the first time on Zee5, is best consumed with a rapidly emptying bottle of a strong beverage. The film’s chief attraction, if we can call it that, is Irrfan as an impecunious tour guide in Pattaya who is sucked into a kidnapping-murder plot.

Maya (Deepal Shaw), the wife of businessman Abhishek (Ranvir Shorey), is missing. A call for hefty ransom comes from Shekhar (Irrfan). When Maya turns up dead, Shekhar works to clear his name.

Goofy police inspector Tejinder (Lucky Ali), who is accompanied by a glamorous assistant (Nausheen Ali Sardar), promises to solve the case but then disappears for much of the 120-minute movie. Tejinder and Company are about as bright as Anil Kapoor and his sidekick in Abbas-Mustan’s Race, released in 2008.

The movie represents the meat-and-potatoes side of Irrfan’s career. Alongside turning out finely nuanced performances, Irrfan sleepwalked through a series of schlocky productions that presumably paid the rent. At least he got a paid holiday to Thailand, which serves as the setting for Navneet-Vishal’s unendingly mediocre screenplay and Navneet BAJ Saini’s inept direction.

Irrfan and Ranvir Shorey are at their professional best, spitting out groan-worthy lines that might sound more entertaining when that beverage-loaded bottle is halfway through. You wrote my destiny with an ink-less pen, muses Irrfan’s philosopher-kidnapper. Hurry up baby, we’re going to rock tonight, Shorey’s Abhishek advises a frequently bare-backed Deepal Shaw.

It’s a film strictly for Irrfan completists. Meanwhile, the unreleased Irrfan movie that should be out, Aditya Bhattacharya’s Dubai Return, remains as elusive as coherence in Murder at Teesri Manzil 302.

Murder at Teesri Manzil 302.