Mumbai, 17 Apr 2021 7:30 IST
Directed by Avinash Das, the film is adapted from Atul Satya Koushik’s Hindi play Ballygunge 1990.
Annup Sonii hosted the television show Crime Patrol, which featured real crime stories from across India and how they were solved, for about 15 years.
Not surprisingly, his latest film, Raat Baaki Hai, which he has produced and where he plays the leading man, is a crime thriller.
The advantage in fictional sagas is that one can take the story forward any way one wants to. Despite this liberty, Raat Baaki Hai makes Crime Patrol appear way more exciting.
Raat Baaki Hai takes place in a single night in a royal city in the state of Rajasthan. Screenwriter Kartik (Sonii) gets engaged to film actress Vaani (Dipannita Sharma) at a grand ceremony in a hotel. Some time after the ceremony, Vaani is murdered in her hotel room where Kartik is asleep in a drunken state.
Kartik is alarmed when he wakes up and realizes that his fiancée has been murdered. Worse, the circumstantial evidence points to him being the culprit. He flees the hotel in a state of panic and lands up at a royal mansion where he bumps into Vasuki (Paoli Dam), the woman he broke up with a dozen years ago.
Meanwhile, the murder case is assigned to the tough and short-tempered officer Ahlawat (Rahul Dev).
Directed by Avinash Das, Raat Baaki Hai is adapted from Atul Satya Koushik’s Hindi play Ballygunge 1990. That play also starred Sonii.
A good murder mystery keeps the audience glued to the proceedings and eventually shocks, or at least surprises, it. But Raat Baaki Hai fails to do either.
The story does move quickly from the first scene as Ahlawat sets out to the crime scene. But after Kartik accidentally meets Vasuki, the narrative comes to a halt as nothing thrilling or even substantial takes place.
It is weird to see Vasuki so cool even after learning that Kartik’s fiancée has been murdered and he is on the run as the prime suspect. In fact, her behaviour and manner of speaking are mildly flirtatious, with complete disregard for the situation at hand.
Paoli Dam, however, is the best of the performers here. Her expressions speak more than her words and she oozes confidence.
Sonii somehow manages the role of a writer who doesn’t have much control over his mind. His performance is poor in the scene where he finds Vani dead. The exact same situation had taken place in the first season of the Disney+ Hotstar web-series Criminal Justice. The protagonist there, played by Vikrant Massey, was utterly shocked to see the woman killed in a similar manner.
Rahul Dev, who isn’t seen much these days in the mainstream, and Dipannita Sharma are adequate for their roles.
The revelation of the killer's identity in the pre-climax does not take the audience by surprise. The aware viewer can well guess the killer's identity in the first half itself. Worse, the revelation isn't convincing either. And the narrative uses the old-fashioned method beloved of television shows where the culprit verbally narrates the whole story instead of letting it unfold on the screen organically.
Once the killer is revealed, the film just drags as there are no more surprises in store. Thankfully, Raat Baaki Hai's runtime is just 89 minutes.
Raat Baaki Hai is now available on Zee5.
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