Saturday, 31 January 2015

Rahasya :: Movie Review



Rahasya is a well made, taut, gripping, intricate whodunit murder mystery which not only provides edge of the seat excitement but also keeps the audience guessing about the murder's identity till the very end with its enough twists and turns. The film 'Rahasya' is a work of fiction as the movie has a disclaimer in the beginning that it is based on fiction and bears no resemblance to any person dead or alive. But, the film is based on and was earlier publicized as dramatization of the famous 2008 double murder of teenager 'Aarushi Talwar' and her family servant 'Hemraj' for which her parents Dr.Rajesh n Dr.Nupur Talwar have already been convicted. In 2008, this case hogged the media limelight for months' altogether and became the most talked about murder case in India as well as abroad. How often, does it happen that a teenager girl sleeping in her room gets killed that too when her parents are present in the house. Several questions were raised. The Talwars, in fact unsuccessfully tried to stall the release of this film by stating that their were too many similarities between the movie and the circumstances that led to the death of Aarushi and Hemraj. Rahasya's crime seems very similar to the Talwar case, replete with the settings, the bungalow type house where crime takes place, and the fact that the victim was found with her throat slit in her bedroom. But after that the film takes on its own character, which is slick and wickedly delightful, fitting into the old whodunit format. The two hour long murder mystery is taut; with the atmospherics ensuring that the story never sags, keeping the audience engaged throughout. Ayesha, the 18 year old daughter of a doctor couple is found dead in her bed with her throat slit. The needle of suspicion immediately falls on her father, who disapproves of her Muslim boyfriend and has been threatening her over the relationship. Enter Sunil Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon), a meticulous CBI officer who is convinced that things are not what they seem. Every character associated with the case is a suspect, each with a stake in the consequences of the murder. There are red herrings, skeletons in the closet, and a couple of more murders before the truth finally comes to light. Most of Whodunits in bollywood frequently flounder in their end-game or climax but not Rahasya. In trademark Agatha Christie fashion, the detective makes the grand revelation at the scene of the crime, in the presence of all the characters, by cornering the murderer with facts and evidences. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                     ::                      The story as well screenplay of the movie has been written by Manish Gupta who is also the director of this movie. Similarities and dissimilarities to the 2008 murder case aside, writer-director Manish Gupta manages to engage you in this complex web of lies, deceit, revenge and conspiracy. Without beating around the bush, he comes straight to the crime and its ramifications. Sufficient twists and turns manage to keep the story largely unpredictable with audience hooked on to the screen as to what's gonna happen next. Also, admirable is the way he has sketched the characters with the needle of suspicion constantly hovering around. The film starts off with the murder of Ayesha Mahajan (Saakshi Sem), the only daughter of her parents Aarti Mahajan (Tisca Chopra) and Sachin Mahajan (Ashish Vidyarthi). Soon, the cops arrive on the scene led by a corrupt cop (Nimai Bali) who after examining the crime scene and interrogating the suspects, arrest Sachin Mahajan for the murder of his daughter on the basis that he is the prime suspect. While he is lodged in the jail, his wife appeals to various commissions and the case is transferred to CBI. Now enters, CBI Inspector Sunil Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon),who after studying the case holds a view that Sachin is innocent and has been falsely implicated. He makes it his mission to prove Sachin's innocence and embarks on an journey to nab the actual culprit. During this journey, he discovers many ugly truths. During the course of investigation, he is even offered bribe indirectly and is further coaxed by his wife to accept it so that they can lead a better lifestyle. Added to this are various twists and turns in the story, which also include a string of murders. Everytime there is a person in the form of a 'clue' leading to the actual murderer; that person gets bumped off in very mysterious circumstances. These incidents make Sunil more determined to find out the truth but to unravel the mystery, he must navigate the various loose ends to piece together what really happened. The fractured marriage of the dead girls's parents (Ashish Vidyarthi & Tisca Chopra) comes under the scanner, as does the nature of the father's relationship with a close friend's wife (Mita Vashisht), the role of family's maid of over 30 years (Ashwini Kalsekar), the whereabouts of the victim's no good boyfriend (Kunal Sharma), and the missing servant who is later found dead and buried in Talwar's house only. Will Sunil Paraskar be able to solve the complicated case, who is the master mind behind all the killings, what was the real motive to kill innocent Ayesha and what are the ugly truths that Sunil Paraskar uncovers during the process of his investigation is what forms the rest of the film.

STARCAST                                                                                       ::          Kudos, to Rajshree Sikchi, casting director of this movie for assembling apt ensemble cast who have given earnest performances as per the characters they were given to perform. Generally, you need Big Stars to pull a movie through but here some real good actors with their solid performances have made this movie, a thoroughly enjoyable fare. Kay Kay Menon once again proves that he is a powerhouse of talent. On the acting front, Kay Kay Menon raises above the film as the walnut eating, sharp and witty CBI Inspector. His is the performance that holds the film and its characters together. As a central protagonist of the movie, Menon does a fine job and shows how quite a seasoned performer he is. Watch out for his reaction when he is offered bribe in a scene, he simply raises his eyebrows and reconfirms if he was offered bribe and the other person denies saying it might be a misunderstanding. Ashish Vidyarthi in his role of Dr. Sachin Mahajan deserves an big applause. His body language speaks volumes for his character in this film even though he hardly gets to mouth any dialogues in this movie. This theater actor is natural at his work and deserves to be seen on-screen more frequently. Tisca Chopra who has already proven her mettle in motherly roles through her previous flicks like 'Taare Zameen Par' & 'Ankur Arora Murder Case', once again gets to showcase the plight of a mother in this movie. She has portrayed her character with utmost conviction. Ashwini Kalsekar who has played the role of nanny is good in some parts and hysterically loud in others. Mita Vashisht gets to play a dual character ; wife of Ashish's good friend and the other woman in Ashish's life and she has a done a fine job out of it. With her backless attires, she gets to prove her acting prowess more with her expressions rather than dialogues. Another noteworthy performance has been delivered by Nimai Bali who has graduated to big screen from telly screen by portraying the character of corrupt cop to perfection.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                            ::       The background music of the music composed by Ranjit Barot is apt enough as per the genre of the movie. The background music not only enlivens the proceedings but also provides much required impetus to the screenplay. The cinematographer of the movie is Faroukh Mistry who has done a fine job. His camera roams the city restlessly. The long shots of the city waking from uneasy slumber every morning merge into microscopic view of the traumatized family. He has shot Mumbai's underbelly -- the chawls, chase sequences in narrow lanes and local trains with aplomb. The film has been edited by Suresh Pai who has kept the runtime of the movie to 123 minutes which is apt enough. The editing of the film is taut which manages to hold the attention of the audience throughout the movie never giving you a dull moment to go out for a loo break. As a writer-director Manish Gupta has delivered a rare tight thriller sans any song-dance sequences added for commercial viability, hence helming a no-nonsense, straightforward thriller. His real achievement is the superbly crafted tight climax of the movie and extracting earnest performances from relatively non-star cast. He ably builds up the situations, motives of multiple characters involved in the case and their actions as well as confessions in fairly fast paced and gritty manner which lends credibility and authenticity to this film.

CONCLUSION                                                                                              ::          Rahasya is a superbly crafted whodunit flick backed up by some earnest performances which maintains the suspense and keeps you guessing till the end. If you like good murder mysteries, this one won't disappoint you. 

ROHIT SHARMA.
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