Ananya Sharma, Dr Shiv’s (Sachin Khedekar) daughter is a CET topper and a doctor who teaches at a prominent coaching class in Jabalpur. Students pay a handsome sum to clear the CET in lieu of acquiring a seat at the Ghaziabad Medical University. Ananya is a part of a big scam involving influential politicians and personnel from the medical field. Her mysterious death is written off as a suicide, but it is hard for her father to believe that. He along with a corrupt police officer, Yusuf Quresh (Barun Sobti), set out to expose the scam. Does Dr Shiv succeed in exposing the scam does he get caught in the vortex in for you to find out.
India is very familiar with incorporating the concept of scams in films. From ‘Guru’, ‘Bluffmaster’, ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’, 'Special 26'...the endless list gives insight into a number of scams in varied fields. ‘Halahal’ isn’t an exception in the category, but can be termed as an eye-opener.
The narrative evolves in a very strategic manner gripping viewers into the ongoings of the plot. The victim, Dr Shiv, is just as actively involved in the investigation as the cop is. The generalised notion of a corrupt cop has been dutifully underlined by the writer Gibran Noorani and Zeishan Quadri and director Randeep Jha. However, there is a softer side to these cops that often go unexplored. The film is a stand-alone and accentuates on the basis of dialogue rather than a narrator to help the viewer delve into details of the film.
Barun Sobti’s character looks tricky at times — it’s difficult to tell if he is a cop or conman. But, as the movie progresses you realise he is a conman who later becomes a good cop.
Sachin Khedekar is known for his versatility and has essayed an array of roles in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Telugu, and Malayalam cinema. His compelling performance in the television series ‘Your Honour’ back in 2000, is still fresh in many viewers' minds. And, in Halahal too, Sachin is at his versatile best. He enacts the most nuanced emotions with great facility. He displays subtle tones of displeasure on learning of his daughter’s involvement in a crime nexus, yet he doesn’t deter from delving into the truth of the matter. He comes across as a person who understands the psychology of every individual he come across in order to get to the bottom of the matter. He is a fearless father and a patient one too.
The bloodshed and violence is relatively controlled, but the dialogues could have been a lot more sober. The end, unlike most Bollywood scam films, doesn’t cheat people. There isn’t a clear victory or defeat, but the talented writers and director try to showcase reality in its original shades of grey.
Towards the end, when Dr Shiv meets Dr Acharya (Purendu Bhattacharya), who is at the helm of the criminal nexus, the mood is inclined towards defeat. However, as we progress to the last scene, the air is more jubilant in a different sort of way.
Overall, a progressively evolving film. After all, there is no harm in watching just another scam and dig out another skeleton from the grave.
Name of the film: Halahal
Cast: Barun Sobti, Sachin Khedekar, Purnendu Bhattacharya, Manu Rishi Chadha, Vijay Kumar and Dogra
Director: Randeep Jha