Producer- Vikram Malhotra
Director- Anu Menon
Cast- Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Neeraj Kabi, Amrita Puri, Shahana Goswami, Niki Walia, Dipannita Sharma, Shashank Arora, Prajakta Koli, Danesh Razvi, Ishika Mehra, and Shefali Shah
Platform of Release- Theatres
By Jyothi Venkatesh
The story revolves around billionaire Ashish Kapoor (Ram Kapoor) and his close-knit family and friends, where everyone is caught up in his or for that matter her own web of secrets. The film directed by Anu Menon who last directed Vidya Balan in the 2020 film Shakuntala Devi is set in the stunningly magnificent highlands of Scotland. In this classic whodunnit, investigator Mira Rao (Vidya Balan) sets out to unearth the hidden motivations and riddles after Ashish Kapoor is found dead at his own party.
The plot bears a strong resemblance to Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None. The film also has an uncanny resemblance to the Daniel Craig starrer Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). It is a pleasure to watch Vidya emote her role after a gap of almost four years after she was seen in the sci-fi film Mission Mangal.
The thriller begins with the exiled billionaire Ashish Kapoor and his posse of richlings are introduced as everyone gathers for his grand birthday party. This includes his best friend Sanjay Suri (Neeraj Kabi) and his wife Noor Suri (Dipannita Sharma), gregarious brother-in-law Jimmy (Rahul Bose), spiritual healer and tarot card reader Zara (Niki Walia), girlfriend Lisa (Shahana Goswami), son Ryan (Shashank Arora), and niece Sasha (Ishika Mehra). Besides these, you also get to see an event manager Tanveer (Danesh Razvi), secretary Kay (Amrita Puri) and Ryan’s girlfriend Gigi (Prajakta Koli) also having something or the other to hide.
Even as the mystery unravels, the plot gets thinner and things seem too convenient and clichéd with some loopholes which are too difficult to ignore, and the long roster of characters to investigate also means the pace dips and the narrative drags intermittently, making you yearn when the film is going to end and on which note.
As far as the performances of the cast is concerned, all that I can say is that Ram Kapoor delivers a finessed performance, whether as an infamous and flagrant business tycoon, a disappointed father or a mean-tempered man and instantly reminds you of the flamboyant Vijay Mallya.
Vidya Balan as an investigating officer delivers a decent performance. We’ve seen Vidya Balan in better formidable roles in other films, and in this film too as Mira Rao, she succeeds in endearing herself to the viewers with her fine performance. Rahul Bose is far too loud and at times even unconvincing in his party-hearty no-gooder act, while Shashank Arora stands out as the drug addict and troubled son, and his dialogue timing is impeccable. Neeraj Kabi and Niki Walia also deserve mention.
To sum up, the film drags on and on aimlessly with far too many skeletons tumbling out of the closet, trap doors and tonnes of secrets I should say that the biggest let down of the film is that while all the ingredients are in place, the film falters in execution with a flawed pace especially after the interval and lulls you to sleep.