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Maroon review: Manav Kaul's daring psychological thriller grips you 

The Manav Kaul starrer keeps you hooked. 

Keyur Seta

Film: Maroon

Rating: 3.5/5 

Just a few months ago, Manav Kaul played the central character of a psycho in Ishaan Trivedi’s A Scandall. In debutant director Pulkit’s Maroon he once again plays the lead who is psychotic. His character is only shown inside a villa. Funnily, in A Scandall too he spends most of his time roaming inside a bungalow.

However, you are hardly reminded of A Scandall (provided you are one of the few ones to have seen it) while watching Maroon. Even if you do, you won’t mind at all. This is all because of the artistic brilliance displayed in Maroon in every department. It’s a daring experiment in the psychological thriller genre with moments that stand out.

Maroon is about Saurabh Sharma (Kaul), a professor in Dehradun University, who stays with his wife, Roshni, a school teacher. The story starts off on the day his wife doesn’t return from work. Initially, Saurabh is in two minds on whether or not to inform the police. But he does ring up the cops after she is not traceable till late night.

The case is handled by Inspector R Negi (Saurabh Sachdeva). During his first visit at Saurabh’s bungalow, the cop finds a few things fishy. Things become more complicated for the professor when his student, Sakshi (Devyani CM) lands at his house and shows over-friendliness. Later on, a voluntary visit by a psychiatrist Dr Abhay Kumar (Suneel Sinha) adds to the mystery. Will Roshni ever be found?

The entire 94 minutes of the duration takes place inside a bungalow. The camera doesn’t move out of the house even for a second. This meant that it was vital for the film to be completely gripping. This is exactly what the end result turns out to be. You just don’t move an inch. But along with a fast screenplay and witty, creative lines, this is achieved by how the film succeeds in keeping you guessing for most of the duration. The confrontational sequences between characters with disguised intentions also need to be lauded. The conversations are real but at the same time, quirky. In a way, the proceedings go in the James Hadley Chase zone.

But a large reason why Maroon creates a different space for itself, at least for psychological thrillers in India, is the intelligent visual narration it brings forth. Sharma has presented the dilemma, imagination and state of mind of Saurabh in a creative and unconventional way. The bath tub sequences and the short scenes of Saurabh’s neighbours quarrelling deserve special mention. However, there are chances that the masses might find this point difficult to understand. 

There is one point, however, that stops Maroon from being truly great. It is important for thrillers in this genre to provide shock and thrill from the final moment. If not this, there at least needs to be some revelation in the last scene. Unfortunately, none of this happens in the climax. 

Maroon also boasts of technical brilliance. The idea of shooting a film inside a bungalow doesn’t give much scope to the cinematographer. But despite that, Soumik Mukherjee not only makes his presence felt but his creative shots also add to the intrigue. Apart from providing a haunting effect, the impressive thing about the background score is that there is no repetition of tunes. Some smart editing skills are also on display. 

Kaul appears almost in each and every frame here. His brilliant acting skills play an important role in keeping the audience glued and interested throughout. As he keeps transforming from normal to abnormal, you just can’t help but admire this artist and realise that he is one of the finest performers around. 

Sachdeva and Sinha chip in with effortless acts. Devyani CM, who makes her debut, brings the right amount of mystery needed in the character. Sumeet Vyas, as Roshni’s colleague, is memorable in a cameo. 

Overall, Maroon is a daring psychological thriller. Hindi cinema is lagging behind in this genre and films like these can fill the void, just like Pawan Kripalani’s Phobia did earlier in the year. 

Director: Pulkit
Producer: Jyotsana Nath
Writer: Pulkit
Cast: Manav Kaul, Saurabh Sachdeva, Suneel Sinha, Devyani CM, Sumeet Vyas
Music: Sagar Desai
Genre: Psychological thriller
Runtime: 94 minutes