Movie Review | Gumraah, a thriller that doesn't go astray
Deccan Chronicle.| L. Ravichander
The film in itself has been marketed indifferently and many filmgoers perhaps are even unaware that it has made it to the theatres. (Photo: Twitter)
As a rule, Indian filmmakers mess up with whodunits and let other aspects of cinema get the better of the suspense. Films like ‘Ittefaq’ and ‘Khamosh’ are rare and far between.
Yes, there was a time when Raj Khosla and B.R. Chopra worked around it in detail but in the case of the former, he relied heavily on music (Madan Mohan) and in the case of the latter it invariably was a courtroom drama.
The one to remember in recent times is perhaps ‘The Girl on the Train’ but then even that had its genesis outside of our milieu.
Therefore when debutant Vardhan Ketkar reappraises the Tamil movie ‘Thadam’, expectations are low. Unfortunately, the film in itself has been marketed indifferently and many filmgoers perhaps are even unaware that it has made it to the theatres.
It is thus likely to suffer the same fate as the brilliant ‘Bheed’ did.
This too deserves watching and the director requires to be taken seriously.
What marks him is his capacity to keep the viewers' interest intact even as he plays around with the familiar props of commercial cinema. More importantly, he keeps the narrative short. A long-drawn suspense thriller is a no-no and understanding this is of vital importance. Ketkar does exactly that.
The film starts with the gruesome murder of rich Aakash Sardhana who is living alone in his posh flat. We also see the murderer. What, however, is the problem is that the murderer has a twin lurking around.
So, we have Arjun (Aditya Roy Kapoor), a rich and promising young guy who has ambition in his eyes and romance in his life in the form of Jahanvi (Vedika Pinto). We also have a lumpen Ronnie (Aditya Roy Kapoor) who when not gambling is either drinking or out with his friend Chadi (Deepak Kalra), the proverbial sidekick of the hero.
The investigation team is led by Dhiren Yadav (Ronit Roy), the ACP and is assisted among others by special officer Shivani Mathur (Mrunal Thakur).
While Arjun is taken into custody based on a chanced photograph gathered in the course of the investigation, the tardy investigation lets go of important blood samples on which the camera concentrates for a while to keep the viewer engaged. It is obvious that Yadav has an axe to grind against Arjun and is bent upon implicating the latter. So sure is he that he jumps to even filing a charge sheet based on the preliminary investigation.
Third degree is employed in vain to extract a confession from Arjun who obviously is made of steel and refuses to succumb to the pressure. The police get challenged when the lookalike is also apprehended for drunken driving and other related offences. This time around the police cannot use third-degree methods since the guy knows his law and is willing to quote from D.K. Basu to the latest pronouncement on the rights of a person detained by the police. He is too smart. While the investigation goes on the team is in itself divided.
While Yadav is waiting for an opportunity to get even with Arjun, Shivani is convinced it is Ronnie, the lookalike who is responsible for the murder.
The plot gets interesting when the forensic experts come up with results that match both suspects.
The rest of the film manoeuvres the route of trying to zero in on who the real culprit is. It also interestingly deals with the tale of identical twins. Fortunately here they are not lost in a mela, and do not have a family song or a birthmark of reference.
The why and the how of the lookalikes, the motive of the murder, constitute the rest of the engrossing story.
The female actors in the film are drab beyond description. While Vedika Pinto as the romantic interest shows no skill sets to act, Mrunal Thakur carries a dazed look throughout.
Ronit Roy is the usual strict guy who has a hidden agenda. He delivers.
However, one must invest in Aditya Roy Kapoor who yet again delivers with elan. It is intriguing that the actor who has everything going his way has not been able to get a draw at the Box Office.
He does not overdo the contrast between the lookalikes and flows with the script that assists him. He is confident and appealing. Some day when he conquers the inexplicable, his cinema would be worth a revisit.
For now, this is surely an interesting suspense film with fresh ideas mixed with some straight jacket positions but nurtured by a fine performance from the lead actor.
Aditya is surely a good enough reason to watch the film. So is the treatment and the twists in the tale.
Director: Vardhan Ketkar
Cast: Aditya Roy Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur