The film walks with its own pace to untangle the mess, after a time you think you have tied all the strings but it invests you in exploring so many different layers in the second half, that you realize finding the perpetrator isn’t the only thing that needs to be figured out here.
“ Yeh area dekhiye, kitni goliyaan barsate hue jaate hai barati, goli ki awaz uparse aayi ya niche se, pata hi nahi chalta.” Netflix’s new release, Raat Akeli Hai adds complex layers to a classic whodunnit situation and builds up a riveting narrative by efficiently utilizing the lawlessness of its environment. Be it the cops or perpetrators, they all play the evil game of guns in the dark and uses conducive conditions as a cover to make the noise unnoticeable. Raat Akeli Hai, with its bleak outlook and unabashed portrayal of patriarchy, creates a witty and rather chilling story of murder mystery and revenge.
Raghubeer Yadav, a respected businessman is shockingly found dead in his own house. Inspector Jatil Yadav(Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is given the responsibility to solve the case. What starts as a classic whodunnit, involving the whole family as suspects, much like Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, shifts itself to be much more than that. Debutant director Honey Trehan, who previously worked as a casting director for most films of Vishal Bharadwaj and Abhishek Chaubey , takes inspiration from both of them and thus forms an amalgamation which is set in a dark palette like Omkara and delivers various themes, much like Chaubey’s Sonchiriya.
With more layers, comes more mess and so in the first hour, the film is filled with twists and turns which makes you doubt each and everyone at some point or the other. The film walks with its own pace to untangle the mess, after a time you think you have tied all the strings but it invests you in exploring so many different layers in the second half, that you realize finding the perpetrator isn’t the only thing that needs to be figured out here. The only area in which the film doesn’t work is that it ignores a bunch of actors, uses them just for a few scenes, and never really forms a proper space for them.
The only frontrunner here is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who carried the weight of the film the entire time. Nawazuddin as Jatil, at first, appears like a cop either from Dabangg or Singham universe. But, when it comes to investigation, he passively observes the crime scene and the whole matter with utmost sincerity. In fact, we gradually see him in different shades of arrogance and tender masculinity. Radhika Apte as Radha is a victim of atrocities that never really gets exposed in rich families. In the end, you can sense that the story of Jatil and Radha appears to be very similar to that of Shahid-Alia in Udta Punjab.
What really empowers the whole narrative is the brilliant cinematography by Pankaj Kumar, like Tumbbad he has managed to build a dark atmosphere again efficiently. The atmosphere looks very similar to Paatal Lok as well and even the treatment given to the narrative highlights a great set of similarities. The satisfactory music score by Karan Kulkarni helps the narrative in a great manner. Overall, Raat Akeli Hai is much more than a classic whodunnit and it brilliantly builds up an atmosphere for a thrilling ride. This is something good coming from the side of Netflix films in India after a very long time.
Cast: Radhika Apte, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Director: Honey Tehran
Verdict: A thrilling tale of murder mystery and revenge. Must watch.