Raat Akeli Hai is a typical 90s whodunit, infused with the goodness of Indian flavours. The family drama is premised in Madhya Pradesh, where a lusting, rich, politician Ragubeer Singh (Khalid Tayabji) is found dead on his wedding bed. Fingers are pointed at Raghubeer’s newly wedded wife Radha (Radhika Apte). Suspicions also rest on Vikram Singh (Nishant Dhaiya), Pramila Singh (Padmavati Rao), Vasudha Singh (Shivani Raghuvanshi) and Munna Raja (Aditya Shrivastav). Jatil Yadav (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is the one appointed to solve the murder mystery. Who has really committed the crime is for us to find out.
In the recent years, whodunits have lost their charm. Gadgets and technology make inquiries feel like a piece of cake! However, ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ is slightly different. The investigation gets intriguing from the very point when the Hawaldar states, “Humko forensic kit istemaal karne ko nahi sikhaya gaya hai.” How will the obsolete investigative methods unveil the dark face of the murderer? Moreover, the moment Jatil Yadav enters Radha’s (Radhika Apte) room, he has already guessed that she cannot be the one. Hence, one suspect down, and who’s left now?
Jatil Yadav relies on the house help, Chunni (Riya Shukla), to give out relevant information. But, the revelation of the Singh family secret gets Chunni killed. The involvement of an elitist politician Manna Bhai (Aditya Shrivastav) and a SSP, Lalji Shukla (Tigmanshu Dhulia), makes it a high profile case.
Tigmanshu’s part has been greatly watered down. Wonder what made him take up the role, when he has played more critically acclaimed parts earlier. The narrative gets even more gritting from the point when Chunni is murdered.
Coming back to Jatil Yadav, he makes for an interesting cop. He first understands the larger picture, before he scrutinises the same for details. However, Nawazuddin needs to work on his romance. One can tell that he finds it exceedingly difficult to traverse between something serious to playing something more romantic. This is just as evident in the film, ‘Ghoomketu’, where the comedy is on point, but the romance is cast away like a piece of trash.
Radhika Apte blends well into her role. She plays a stark contrast from what she plays in the film ‘Phobia’. Interestingly, she chooses her roles well and levels up with every passing film. She could be one of the fewer actresses who understands the nuances of method acting well.
Vasudha Singh (Shivani Raghuvanshi) has braved a torrid past and confuses us by restoring her fear with a normal attitude. She plays along by striking an unquestionable rapport with her mother Pramila Singh (Padmavati Rao) who plays the critical role of retaining the family’s honour with her dark ways.
Raat Akeli Hai, gives women the required edge. Radhika Apte appears as the bold and fearless suspect. At the start one might assume, that only Radhika Apte’s displaying her strength, but as the plot unfolds it will gradually dawn upon the onlooker that every woman has an equally meatier part to play. Shivani is a woman with gumption who can smile through the ordeal. Pramila Rao emerges as an unsuspecting villain. Shweta Tripati could have played a stronger part, as she has in the critically-acclaimed Mirzapur, where she essayed something a lot more bolder. Overall an exciting whodunit, with very feminine shades.
Name of the Film - Raat Akeli Hai
Platform - Netflix
Duration - 2 hours and 30 mins
Director - Honey Trehan
Cast - Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Riya Shukla, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Ila Arun, Aditya Shrivastav, Padmavati Rao, Nishant Dahiya, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shweta Tripathi, Ravi Sah
Rating - 3.5/5