The wonderful aspect about Table 21 is that it successfully hides a social issue behind a commercial film; something that Stanley ka Dabba also did, but in a less commercial and more kid-friendly manner. In taking this step, the film creates an air of suspense around the events of the story that both helps the plot-line but hinders the aim of the film.
Table 21 follows a Couple, who having won a mysterious holiday on their wedding anniversary are invited to play a game, for money, by the host of the resort Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal). The game consists of 8 questions the Couple must answer with only the truth followed by a dare relating to that truth. Call it an amalgamation of game-shows like Sach Ka Saamna, Kaun Banega Karorepati, and to an extent Truth or Dare. It's through this game and a few flashbacks that we get to know about the Couple a bit more, and most importantly about the mysterious Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal) and his motives behind the entire setup.
The film succeeds because it doesn't let the cat out of the bag till the very end. It plays out as a somewhat above average mystery film and drops the social issue cause right at the end with a Big Bang. While everything about the story is entertaining, the film isn't without flaws. There are certain events that are never explained and various supporting actors that just don't seem to have any purpose or dialogue whatsoever. Moreover, once the motive behind the games is revealed, it almost feels that the film took a bit too long to get to the point. Even though it has a running time of only 1 hour and 45 minutes, it still seems that a few scenes could have been cut or the climatic song removed to get to the end faster.
The social cause that Table 21 tackles is part of an elaborate scheme of deception for both the participants of the game in the film and the audience watching the film, so I shall not disclose it. It's not hard to guess what it is, but if you go into the film without knowing, the last act has a better impact. The acting by the three main leads is quite good with Paresh Rawal stepping into comfortable sho0es and giving his trademark serious performance. Rajeev Khandelwal and Tena Desae do a decent enough job as well playing a young married couple in love ready to go to extreme levels all for the love for money.
Table 21 has the right concept but lags behind in execution. If only it was edited slightly better, taking away the unnecessary drama, it would have made a pretty awesome film. Still, it makes for a compelling film that plays around with the very basic of human emotions and proves that every action does have an opposite reaction.