Raat Akeli Hai: A Review
The year that went by saw a lot of hype around one Ryan Johnson-directed whodunit – Knives out. At a point, it was touted to be the best movie of the year and the greatest mystery film to have released in a decade or so. As stretching as the proposition was, Knives Out currently streaming on Netflix is a fun and thrilling helluva movie nevertheless. A year later since the release, Netflix premiers another Whodunit. And this time, it’s a Bollywood Flick – Raat Akeli Hai!
Raat Akeli Hai and the Acting Powerhouses
A star-studded ensemble cast comprising of the bests and a storyline that’s audacious to be one of a kind; Raat Akeli Hai is an out and out entertainer to come out of Bollywood in recent times. Spearheaded by an “average” Nawazuddin Siddiqui performance (his average is the usual damn good outing) with theatrical performances alongside, the movie is such a masalaic watch.
What's the story huh?
Inspector Jatil Yadav, a no-nonsense sincere Nawazuddin is brought to investigate the murder of a rich landlord. The whole family give suspicious vibes, with everyone related and not having some beef, already known or yet to be discovered with the dead head of the family. At the helm of it all is the ostracised mistress played by Netflix’s favourite Radhika Apte who wed the landlord on the night of his death.
Family politics and literal politicians possibly involved, Raat Akeli hai delves into exploring the darker passages of human afflictions all the while not fearing to broach relevant social commentary. Conspiracy theories and suspicious characters populate the plot and flesh out a multifaceted storyline that is tender and juicy as the chicken breast you teeth into.
At a run time of over 150 minutes, the film takes its time to ease us into the engrossing plot and at no point seems like a drag. While many of my friends who watched the movie complain of a spot pace, I feel the denouement is better off because of it. In essence, it’s damn worth the grind.
The Drama and Charms of Raat Akeli Hai
Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shwetha Tripathi, and Aditya Shrivastava while minor characters, play crucial kegs in character roles that will have you further glued up to the screen when their eclectic selves show up. Radhika and Nawaz have charming chemistry between them, all the whole eeking mild sexual tension. For a plot that is dark and oftentimes disturbing with its raw approach, the comedic timing of the ensemble cast entirely transform the movie to be in the ranks of a dark comedy over a serious mystery drama.
The cinematography is colourful with the hues of amber taking space and adding a vintage charm to the cinematics. Featuring a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India, the canvas stylistically captures the shades of lust, greed, and culpable violence brimming in a land seething with amoral people.
"Look out for"
For the fans of Nawaz’ comedic chops, his interaction with a very proactive mother who wants him married offer some memorable scenes of awkward but tingling fun.
Why should you watch it?
Not a spoiler exactly… The murder is not an “all of us were involved” cliche that some movies have cheaply exploited over and over again.
The Whodunit at the centre remains to be a side plot all together at times with the movie taking its own good time to give out exposition. Meanwhile, we are allowed to get invested in the characters.
But hey! Raat Akeli hai is not your average crime flick. The movie takes you into the shoes of each character and their befuddling frustrations. So, be patient and let the movie take you unto its wings.
While definitely reminding you of Knives out, Gosford Park, and the lovely Agatha Christie plots, Raat Akeli hai is a film of its own kind. Personal, very Indianised and endlessly charming to cinema lovers worldwide.