Saturday, June 20, 2015

Movie Recommendation: Rahasya (Hindi)

The time is 5pm on a weekday. My cell phone rings at work....tring....tring....

Me: Hello?
Hubby: Hi!
Me: What's up?
Hubby: Movie this evening?
Me: Sounds good. Which one?
Hubby: There are a few good ones that are out. We can go to the multiplex and decide.
Me: Cool
Hubby: I'll swing by your workplace at 6pm. Be ready. We can have dinner at the mall and head back home. I feel like Thai tonight.
Me: Okay. Seeya!

No....this has absolutely nothing to do with the movie I'm going to talk about shortly. These are just a few snippets of conversation from what used to be my life. Hahaha! ☺ When we were just a couple, we used to watch an insane number of movies. It used to be a spur-of-the-moment thing with no planning required. The general thought process was - feel like watching a movie? Let's get going! Needless to say, that sort of thing doesn't happen anymore. I haven't been to the theatres in ages. So naturally, writing movie reviews seems like a thing of the past. But then again, there are always DVD's that one can watch at home. It isn't the same thing but something is better than nothing right? 

Anyway, last weekend, we watched a hindi movie directed by Manish Gupta called Rahasya, loosely based on the Aarushi Talwar murder case. Looking back, the disclaimer at the start of the movie said - "any resemblance to any character living or dead is purely coincidental" but unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade, you will know that to be quite untrue! Rahasya hit theatres way back in January of this year so if you notice, I have titled this post as 'movie recommendation' as opposed to 'review' ☺ I had never heard of this movie before and I noticed that the star cast didn't boast of any big names so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. After a run time of approximately 2 hours, I was pleasantly surprised. I found the movie riveting and having closely followed the Aarushi Talwar murder case in the media, was glad that this movie didn't end up merely being a sensationalized celluloid account of the incident. Cheers to cinematic liberties! After the first hour, the movie completely deviates from the expected into unchartered territory. The shocking twist at the end leaves you at the edge of your seat which is what you would want from a murder mystery.

Movie Synopsis (**No Spoilers**)

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sachin Mahajan (Ashish Vidyarthi) is the prime accused in the killing of his teenage daughter Ayesha Mahajan (Sakshi Sem) in their plush penthouse in Mumbai. But can a father really kill his own daughter? Despite the seemingly insurmountable evidence against Dr. Sachin Mahajan, C.B.I sleuth Sunil Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon) thinks otherwise and plunges head-first into the task of solving the conundrum. Did the housekeeper Ms Remi Fernandez (Ashwini Kalsekar), who seems to be full of secrets have something to do with it? Or was the grieving mother Dr. Aarthi Mahajan (Tisca Chopra), who didn't appear to have any motive somehow involved in the ghastly act? Maybe it was the domestic help Chethan who mysteriously disappeared on the night of the murder never to be seen thereafter? Then again, it could be the doing of possessive and violent boyfriend Riaz who was seen exiting the apartment on the night of the crime only to be declared absconding. Not to forget Dr Hansal (Bikramjeet Kanwarpal), the vengeful close friend of Sachin Mahajan who recently discovered his wife Brinda (Mita Vashisht) to be having an affair with Sachin. Or it could be Brinda herself as a means of making her foray into the Mahajan household by eliminating the daughter. Half a dozen suspects, many unanswered questions and unabating criminal activity leaves the investigating officers baffled. Inspector Sunil goes beyond the call of duty to crack the case and after narrowly escaping a few attempts on his own life, unveils a sinister web of adultery, deceit, sordid relationships and hidden family secrets. 

My thoughts...

A decently executed whodunnit, Rahasya is a gripping account inspired by one of the most perplexing and fascinating cases in recent times. When Dr Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur emerged as the prime suspects in the double murders of their teenage daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj at their residence in Noida in 2008, it sent shockwaves through the nation. The Noida double homicide created ripples in the media and is still the topic of much speculation. But like I said before, apart from a few key aspects such as the parents of the victim being doctors, their social standing in society, the age group of the victim, the manner in which the murder was committed & the fact that there was a male-helper at home at the time of the murder, nothing much else resonates with the actual case. 

The highlight of the movie is undoubtedly its story. Bollywood isn't known for churning out brilliant suspense thrillers (with the exception of a few) so anything above par is accepted wholeheartedly. The twists and turns in the plot keep the viewer hooked from start to end. Although towards the latter half, I was able to deduce who the killer was much before the grand revelation, I would still say that there are elements of suspense that one would not anticipate. The direction, dialogues and screenplay are fairly good although not remarkable. The movie is song-less which makes sense for the genre it belongs to and it is commendable that the director didn't fall prey to the usual trappings of Bollywood and incorporate a cheesy item number. The cinematography and background score are effective and lend immense support to the narrative. The movie is rough around the edges in parts but it still manages to engage and entertain the viewer.

Coming to the performances, the only one I found particularly praise-worthy was that of Kay Kay Menon. He is one of the most reliable yet underrated actors in the industry. He is quirky, intense and compelling as the walnut-munching, conscientious CBI officer Sunil Paraskar. The other actors were just mediocre. Ashwini Kalsekar as Remi the housekeeper was nerve-grating with her over-the-top histrionics, Mita Vashisht as the Brinda was awful and even Tisca Chopra who I usually find impressive, was only tepid in the role of Aarthi Mahajan.

My verdict is that Rahasya is a good one-time watch if you are a mystery buff.

Agatha Christie would surely approve! 

 My rating:

Movie name: Rahasya
Language: Hindi, Marathi
Genre: Crime/ Murder Mystery
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Ashish Vidyarthi, Tisca Chopra, Mita Vashisht, Ashwini Kalsekar
Director: Manish Gupta
Release date: 30th January 2015
Run time: 125 min


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