Hindi filmmakers these days seem to have really taken into the idea that a good thriller movie is all about an intriguing background score, huge sets and characters with opulent personalities.
Avinash Das, who previously got praised for his Netflix series She, too falls deep into the ditch with his latest creation for Zee5. Based on Atul Satya Koushik’s Hindi play Ballygunge 1990, Raat Baaki Hai tries to be a whodunit that nobody expected but comes out as a mere film that nobody asked for.
Based in some random city of Rajasthan (creators don’t find it necessary to specify which city), film starts with a very stern inspector (Rahul Dev) in the middle of an action sequence of a different sort, one which finds him on his bed. His act is disrupted by a phone call. He is perturbed and signs of which creep up on his face cracking his deadpan. Bollywood star Vani Chopra (Dipannita Sharma) is apparently found dead on the night of her own wedding engagement.
The inspector reaches the crime scene and starts his investigation while surreptitiously removing some of the evidence. He is soon informed by the hotel staff that Vani’s fiancé and a successful Bollywood writer, Kartik Sharma (Annup Sonii) is missing from the hotel. He sets his men to trace down Kartik as he proceeds to interrogate a movie producer called Rehan Mustafa (Saurabh Sachdeva), one of his prime suspects.
Meanwhile, Kartik is on the run and lands up at a king’s palace. Not knowing much about the city or it’s people, he stumbles upon his ex-lover Vasuki (Paoli Dam), at the palace. She happens to be the queen. The mystery unravels as both the ex-lovers recall their 12-year-old love affair.
The best part about this one hour forty minute film is that it is for one hour forty minutes only. It would have been a real task to sit through another five minutes of this snoozefest.
Director Avinash Das manages to keep you glued to the screen initially but then he takes forty long minutes to establish the crime and another forty to explain the same in a painfully drawn-out manner. One cannot help but wonder why Das thought about spoon feeding each and every detail when everything becomes pretty clear as soon as the murderer is revealed.
Also, the treatment of the movie takes you back to Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Honey Trehan’s film with a near identical name, Raat Akeli Hai.
Talking about the screenplay, Siddharth Mishra too misses the mark as he loses out on the thrill. Inspector’s quote from the film ‘Kahani mein twist dhundhna padta hai’ could have been a good lesson for Mishra himself! In fact, the writing is banal and often even careless.
Rahul Dev is just mouthing the dialogues in a flat tone throughout with his fake Haryanvi accent. (God knows what is this obsession of Bollywood nowadays with the inspectors speaking in Haryanvi.) Annup Sonii is average. Dipannita Sharma ‘perfectly’ portrays her character of a big Bollywood star with her glamour speaking more than her words. However, Paoli Dam with a very poised yet poisonous character is a treat to watch. Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai fame Saanand Verma, though got a very little screen space, delivers way better than the film’s leading cast.
Title: Raat Baaki Hai
CAST: Annup Sonii, Rahul Dev, Paoli Dam, Dipannita Sharma, Saurabh Sachdeva, Saanand Verma
Director: Avinash Das
Rating: 2.5 stars