Director Kushal Srivastava's debut feature film Vodka Diaries starts off well with Kay Kay Menon's character gearing up to solve a mystery surrounding at least five murders in the chilly city of Manali. That all of these murders are associated with a local pub by the name of the film is interesting, and makes the cop character look for leads. But somewhere after the first hour, Vodka Diaries slips and falls into a territory of fantasy. The narrative is chiefly from the perspective of the protagonist who starts to forget things to the point that his wife (Mandira Bedi) goes missing. It reminded me of Shane Carruth's 2013 confusing drama Upstream Color, and in both the films, I suffered a lot before getting the point. In Vodka Diaries, thankfully the characters speak for themselves and tell us what's happening at the end, but that in itself is a failure for the film. I don't want the characters to talk to me to simplify the story; that's the job of writer Vaibhav Bajpai. Add to that the usage of unnecessary songs and an overall dull atmosphere, Vodka Stories jumps deeper into the cliff of meaningless and pretentious drama. I don't know what Raima Sen was doing here, but she seems to be the only confident actor. Menon looks lethargic in his performance while Bedi seems to have done this film for free, putting near to zero effort in doing her part. Except the starting power of suspense and the locales of Manali, there is nothing much to relish in Vodka Diaries, and despite a clarified climax, I ended up feeling robbed. TN.