A still from Nail Polish
A still from Nail Polish

What is the most important aspect of making a courtroom drama? The case? The actors? Or the background score? Galat jawaab! The correct answer, however is, tempo! And that is where Nail Polish suffers irreparable losses i.e., in the writing! The tempo of the film or the pace at which a courtroom drama is supposed to unfold, in this case is truly disappointing!

Most of the writing in the film, right from the word go, feels half-hearted much like that of a plateful of half-baked beans, served with a very noisy sizzler! So much so that everyone in the dining room looks up to take notice of the sizzler, while contemplating the smoke yet only the one who eats it knows what he has actually signed up for! Arjun Rampal’s lawyer act is nowhere as passionate as compared to his rival in the film Anand Tiwari.

In fact, it is Tiwari’s sole portrayal of a middle-class lawyer, representing the common man who actually thrusts in some of the much-needed passion. Rampal’s lawyer act seems to be as laid back as his rock-star act! With a little bit of costume change he could have easily been a rock-star standing in the courtroom and no one would have known the difference!

The plot is loosely based on the Nithari murder cases, involving sexual harassment of migrant children and murder. If you remember, the Noida serial murders occurred in the house of businessman Moninder Singh Pandher in 2005 and 2006. Moninder Singh was convicted in two out of the five cases against him and his servant who aided him was convicted in ten out of the 16 cases against him. Both were sentenced to death.

However, the principal flaw in the film is the fact that it is all a man’s world. A film written by men, for men and about men! That’s about it in a nutshell. Apart from glimpses of Madhoo and Samreen Kaur which look more like after-thoughts, it is a world all about men!

Apart from Tiwari, it is Manav Kaul who is a scene stealer! His act is so graphical in portrayal that one might just about begin wondering at his inherent abilities to churn out nuances through superlative skills. Right till the last scene in the film he tends to make the viewer question his own instincts!

However, when it comes to the subplot involving Rajit Kapur and Madhu, the writing falls short all over again. The characters have such drastic things unfolding in and their lives that one wishes the writer had made them more nuanced, paid attention to more details and added some more of texture into the language. In fact, it feels good to see Madhoo back on screen, playing more playful roles this time around.

However, it is definitely worth a watch only if these things don’t bother you much. In your defence, you could always cite the suave undertones of Rampal’s collar bones!

Film: Nail Polish

Director/Writer: Bugs Bhargava Krishna

Cast: Arjun Rampal, Manav Kaul, Anand Tiwari, Rajit Kapur, Madhoo

Platform: Zee5

Rating: 2.5/5

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Free Press Journal