Investigations following a murder and unraveling of the truth behind such killing becoming the backdrop of a plot are nothing new. It all comes to the presentation aspect and in order to taste success and gets the intended results, how the narrative does its business of slowly but steadily reaching the all-important conclusion without losing grip over the screenplay holds paramount importance.
Raat Akeli Hai, directed by Honey Trehan, which is now streaming in Netflix, is not an excellent experience by any standards. But it gets most of the aspects covered and in that process provide a decent experience as well as keeping the engagement level at par with what the story demanded.
The story is set in U.P and without wasting much of a time and not beating around the bush. It heads straight into the critical angle in the story. Raghubeer Singh, a Thakur from an influential family, is killed on the night of his second wedding. Inspector Jatil Yadav reaches the crime scene and begins the process of investigation questioning the suspects. The film covers this investigation centered around Raghubeer Singh’s murder, his dysfunctional family as well as how the investigating officer goes forward with this case file and how he concludes it.
As the inquiry progress through each stage, the narrative makes the audience suspect each and everyone in the Haveli. The film does leave some clues as to what could have gone wrong in the family that night, and the suspense building goes on for a significant part of the narrative. There are no major surprising turns of events at any stage, but the revelations at the end. However, it was not surprising was enough for the film to windup on a safe territory without any hiccups. Supporting characters, especially the ones who belong to the family and the ones we feel that they can commit the crime could have been given a little more of mysterious shades to make it tough for us to guess.
The pattern of investigation as the case is gradually solved and Jatil Yadav’s confrontation with his personal as well as his professional life was balanced, smartly written, and executed. Some of the best scenes though it has no bearing on the case happen within the investigative officer’s home itself. The moments he shares with his mother and the conversation they have were exciting. How their conflict goes over surrounding Jatil’s marriage helped to lighten the mood amidst the solemn atmosphere of the story.
A little more tension building in the screenplay could have helped to make the whole film more thrilling and gripping. At the current running time and with that pace, it became a little tedious and sluggish at times. It didn’t affect the film’s overall balance, and the movie as a whole didn’t crumble, holding its grip all the time. But the concluding portions were lacking that wow experience one would expect from this genre. How Jatil Yadav finally wresting his case compensated for the missing pieces, but as I mentioned, it wasn’t an out of the box findings and was something that was expected as coming.
On the performance side, it is Nawazuddin Siddhiqui, who occupies a lions share of screen space. Inspector Jatil Yadav was going through ups and downs both personally as well as on the professional side. So there has to be some effort to come from his hand to make this character as enjoyable as possible. The actor, as usual, does not disappoint and puts his best foot forward. Radhika Apte, as the troubled Radha, is equally convincing and brings in that element of mystery to her character. Ila Arun as the mother of Jatil, was also another smart casting though her role was minimal. Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and Nishant Dahiya do their supporting acts well.
Raat Akeli Hai is streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer here: