Raat Akeli Hai movie review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a still from Honey Trehan’s debut film.

Raat Akeli Hai movie review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s knives are out in Netflix’s nail-biting murder mystery

Raat Akeli Hai
Director – Honey Trehan
Cast – Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Nishant Dahiya, Ila Arun, Swanand Kirkire, Aditya Srivastava

The ‘chhuris’ are out in Raat Akeli Hai, a homegrown homicide thriller on Netflix that doubles as a powerful directorial debut for Bollywood casting director Honey Trehan. It’s the uncommon mainstream Indian movie that doesn’t appear to be in a rush to inform its story, and earns its daunting two-and-a-half hour runtime — deviating from the first plot when it desires to, and fleshing out its archetypal characters with care.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as Inspector Jatil Yadav, can be glad to ditch the gangster garb for a cop’s khaki, if solely to reprimand journalists who preserve asking him if he’s been typecast.

Watch the Raat Akeli Hai trailer right here 

When Raghuveer Singh, the wealthy patriarch of a landowning Uttar Pradesh household is discovered useless in his bed room, Jatil is distributed to analyze. Affecting the dignified method of Hercule Poirot and Benoit Blanc, he paces about the home, observing the crime scene with medical passivity and sizing up every member of the household. It is quickly clear to Jatil (and us) that they’re all hiding one thing; all of them have causes to kill the outdated man.

Having understood this, Jatil gathers the household within the courtyard and says, virtually as a risk, “Aap sabko hum ek baat bata rahe hain. Yahan jo kaand hue hai na, hum karenge uski jaanch.” And as soon as once more, Nawazuddin rises above his diminutive bodily stature to ship a efficiency that positively calls for consideration.

Jatil is an fascinating character, given a chip on his shoulder by Nawaz. In the custom of fantastic fictional detectives, he’s fairly the clean canvas. His sincerity is unquestionable, even within the face of corruption and red-tape. At each flip, he’s met with hurdles, typically within the type of his uncooperative superior, and on different events an area politician often known as Munna Raja. Like the latest collection Paatal Lok, Raat Akeli Hai additionally subscribes to the age-old cinematic trope that for against the law to be solved, the detective should first be suspended from obligation.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a nonetheless from Raat Akeli Hai.

Trehan does the clever factor and surrounds himself with impeccably proficient artists on his first movie. Everyone, from Nawaz and the ensemble — Shweta Tripathi and Tigmanshu Dhulia are standouts — to the cinematographer Pankaj Kumar (Talvar, Tumbbad) and author Smita Singh (Sacred Games), seem like working in comfy collaboration to serve a shared imaginative and prescient. Perhaps due to his expertise in casting, Trehan is conscious that he should not fall into the identical lure that has consumed earlier homicide mysteries: telegraphing the identification of the killer by hiring an actor who stands proud like a South Delhi boy in a Gurugram bar.

Even Knives Out, a movie with which Raat Akeli Hai shares its DNA, couldn’t keep away from this. The second Chris Evans stepped up within the second half, you knew one thing was up. But by casting actors of equal talent and recognition to play the members of Raghuveer Singh’s household, as a viewer, you’re always guessing, and largely guessing improper.

Unfortunately for Raat Akeli Hai, it arrives mere months after director Rian Johnson’s Oscar nominated movie, which raised the bar significantly for locked room homicide mysteries, and can, not less than in the interim, be thought of the benchmark for this form of story. Not merely content material with having crafted an intricate yarn, Johnson via his movie made eager socio-political observations as effectively.

Aditya Srivastava, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi,  and others in a still from Raat Akeli Hai.

Aditya Srivastava, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and others in a nonetheless from Raat Akeli Hai.

Raat Akeli Hai is extra old-school in its strategy; completely pleased to mess around with style conventions with out feeling pressured to make any grand statements about class or patriarchy in cow-belt India.

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As enjoyable because the movie is, it could actually’t assist however come throughout as a wasted alternative on this regard. Singh’s screenplay units the stage for subversion, however concludes moderately clumsily. A romantic subplot involving Jatil and the outdated man’s mistress feels tangential, and serves solely as further motivation for a person who doesn’t really want any. Played by Radhika Apte, Radha, the ‘rakhael’, is an enigma of a personality, little question modelled after basic movie noir femme fatales, however regrettably lowered to nothing greater than a damsel in misery.

As a primary movie, nonetheless, Raat Akeli Hai is sort of the achievement. Trehan not solely has a talent for guiding actors, but in addition shows a command over tone and visible texture. Surely that is the start of a vibrant new franchise?

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The writer tweets @RohanNaahar