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‘raat Akeli Hai’ Should Have Been Multi-dimensional For Better Appeal

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By Author: Rochak Saxena
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PLOT
Raghubeer Singh (Khalid Tyabji), a wealthy man is killed in his own room of his palatial mansion on the day of his second wedding to Radha (Radhika Apte). Suspects are the clan members, all secretive in their own ways. Enter a no-nonsense Inspector Jatil Yadav (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who only wants to conduct the investigation properly.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL
It is the cop here who attracts you the most. Apart from being your hero who you know would solve the case in the end, you like him for his personal life where his mother Sarita Kumari (Ila Arun) is after his life to get married.
On the other hand, Yadav is in love with himself, evident from those subtle but sharp smiles that he gives to himself after applying a fairness cream.

Story, screenplay, and dialogues are penned by Smita Singh (Sacred Games 2 fame). It is a satisfactorily decent story, but not something to shout about. Infact such stories are very commonly observed in crime shows of television. Not to take the fact away that the story does have suspense. But even that is uni-directional. Once Jatil Yadav announces that the murdered is someone from inside, you believe him, because there is no reason to not do so. The story there on runs on a single track.

Initially, the film does confuse you and you like how things begin to take shape. When the inspector begins his search and investigation, the layers within the clan unfold. It is interesting to see how all the characters carry an element of surprise within them. It is here that you feel that anybody could be the murderer. This part is actually interesting to watch.

Watch the trailer here:

But just when the 2nd half begins, the same things that interested you in the first half, now begin to bore you a little. Since you cannot see anything concrete happening, you feel twists are appearing only to increase the length of the film. This part seems stretched. However when the actual murderer is revealed and the dots are connected, you are indeed happy for atleast not being anything even close to humbug. There is logic, and that’s about it.

One portion where Trehan must be patted on his back is where SSP Shukla (Tigmanshu Dhulia) is eating on his table and informed about a past case by Yadav. The expressions on Dhulia’s face is the mark of a learned actor and also crisp direction. Also, the way the scenes between Nawaz and Radhika are shot, they are gems. Other than this, you do wish there was more dimension to the people involved. None of the people involved have an actual say after a point.

Also, the pace of the film is quite slow, making it a regular affair for any casual cinema viewer.

PERFORMANCE
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is in his top form. He has maintained a rigid body language wherever it is required. At other times, he is also compassionate. In both the forms, he is very good. Those minute expressions and eye movements that he has always been doing keep reminding you that he is an actor par excellence.

Radhika Apte is also very very good. Carrying an air of suspicion to her, she is a delight to watch. She has depth in her role and she essays the role with grace. Aditya Srivastava has maintained a snobbish body language all through, and he kills it only through that. He has great potential, it’s proven.

Tigmanshu Dhulia is good in his brief screen time. An upright boss, he is good. Ila Arun has fewer scenes but she makes her mark. Just like all her previous appearances, she makes sure she contributes to the narrative and you don’t just pass through. Shivani Raghuvanshi has done a great job. Given her substantial stints in the recent web series, it is no doubt that she is a good actor.

Shweta Tripathi, although a brilliant actor, does reasonably fine here, only because of the thin line-up of task for her. She does what is required of her. Padmavati Rao is brilliant, giving the story the much needed depth. You constantly eye her for her demeanour and presence in the family.

Swanand Kirkire makes a lasting impression in his entry solely. He has little to do otherwise, but he does it well. Riya Shukla is very good, and you relate to her instantly. You form a bond with her. She is just so good. Nishant Dahiya has a confident screen presence and he uses it to his complete advantage. Gyanendra Tripathi stands out as the ever-arrogant daamad.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES
Sneha Khanvalkar’s music is good. The songs are soulful and also fit in the narrative. They try also to take the story forward. But you don’t feel that they were outrightly necessary. Karan Kulkarni’s score is decent. Nothing great. But not bad either.

Raat akeli hai, netflix, review, hindi, film, 2020
Shota from the film (image source: koimoi.com)
Cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is strikingly well defined. Since the most of the film is in dark, the result achieved is good, looking visually appealing. The use of red or orange or brown in certain scenes helps to emphasize the context and meanings. Production design by Rita Ghosh, Vinay Narkar, and Niyoti Upadhyay is also fine. The colours within the sets are vinrant and work in contrast to the darkness of the scenes and theme.

Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad is very good, keeping in mind the plot and the written material. The fact that it keeps you hooked for the most of its part is in itself commendable for the film of such a genre.

This film had the potential to be much more than just a uni-directional investigation drama. What it is, it is very good. This can be watched for one-time decent thrill. Nothing more.

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