Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘Gumraah’ movie review: Aditya Roy Kapur’s thriller lacks killer instinct

Aditya Roy Kapur in a scene from ‘Gumraah’

Aditya Roy Kapur in a scene from ‘Gumraah’

A crime thriller works when the foreplay is as compelling as what the makers hold back for the climax. Here is a murder mystery where the investigation meanders like a frothy daily soap that keeps striking a false note. Taking the title literally,  Gumraah goes astray early, veering towards phony police stations, predictable action, and pretentious romance. By the time it comes to the point, one loses faith in the scenery and the tour guide.

A tale of one murder where the two suspects look identical, this adaptation of the Tamil hit  Thadam is driven by an absorbing idea that works well on paper because of its sheer ingenuity. The statistics presented before the end credits show that the idea needs a body. But the way it has been dressed up on the screen,  Gumraah becomes a tedious watch that lacks purpose. Director Vardhan Ketkar spends so much time in the boring build-up, marked by bland dialogues and monotonous situations, that one loses interest in the outcome of the whodunit.

Also Read:‘The Night Manager’ Hindi series review: An explosive combination of style and substance

A young man gets murdered on a rainy night in mysterious circumstances and an enterprising cop Shivani Mathur (Mrunal Thakur) takes charge of the investigation. The needle of suspicion moves to Arjun (Aditya Roy Kapur), who is already on the hit list of Assistant Commissioner Yadav (Ronit Roy). As Yadav sees the case as an opportunity to fix Arjun, Sooraj (Aditya in a double role) stutters into the picture, sowing seeds of doubt in the mind of the police and the audience. Along the way, Shivani develops her bias and has to get over her conceited superior and a smart suspect to find the real culprit. There are backstories that address addiction, mental health, and misplaced caste pride but none of them generate any emotional swell to keep one hooked to the proceedings.

Gumraah (Hindi)

Director: Vardhan Ketkar

Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Mrunal Thakur, Ronit Roy, Vedika Pinto

Runtime: 127 minutes

Storyline: One murder, two look alike suspects and a conceited superior, inspector Shivani Mathur has to get over her personal bias to find the real culprit

The adaptation from Tamil to Hindi demands more than just dropping names of cities like Saharanpur or police constables who speak with a Haryanvi accent. The entire emotional graph of the film needs to be translated and one needs to know basic facts like Gurugram comes under the jurisdiction of Haryana Police.

Hamstrung by colourless writing, Aditya returns to his drab ways after a magnetic performance in  The Night Manager. He tries to delineate Arjun from Sooraj but it remains limited to the accent that sounds like a put-on.

Even the usually efficient Mrunal Thakur seems like going through the motions. It is only Ronit Roy who tries to instill some energy into the investigation but it remains an emotionally flat exercise.

Gumraah is currently running in theatres.

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