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‘Raat Akeli Hai’ film review: A cinematic murder thriller

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The movie Raat Akeli Hai has all the characteristics of an epic murder mystery. This Netflix blockbuster is a testament to the impressive directorial capabilities of casting director Honey Trehan. Although it’s his first film, Trehan puts his best effort to create this cinematic masterclass, giving him a dream debut in the industry. The course of the story in this movie is one of suspense and intrigue.

Raat Akeli Hai tells the story of the unravelling of two murders and uses it to address unhealthy patriarchy in the society. In this movie, versatile actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui brings to life the character of a police inspector Jatil Yadav.

Plot

The story really begins when Raghuveer Singh; a rich patriarch, is mysteriously murdered in his bathroom at night before his wedding to Radha, played by Radhika Apte, who is his much younger mistress. Jatil Yadav is chosen to investigate the murder, which he does with utmost scrutiny and investigative skill. His journey takes him across the city as he relies on his guts and professional acumen in solving the crime. As the story unfolds further, more suspense is introduced into the movie as every member of Raghuveer’s family is suspected to be responsible for Raghuveer’s death. Jatil’s suspicions begin to rise, he gathers them together and issues a threat to the culprit. Jatil displays acute heroism in leading the investigation into the murder of Raghuveer. However, his heroism is born from patriarchy.

Once more, mystery movie lovers are delighted to watch Siddiqui deliver another flawless performance in this suspense-filled thriller. Siddiqui’s character, Jatil is by all standards honest, and is determined to remain uncompromised. He shows his integrity in the face of adversity and corruption. Jatil experiences challenges that are poised to frustrate his efforts, occasionally these challenges are expressed through the role of his superior who doesn’t share his values and vision. Jatil faces other challenges like the politician Munna Raja who is hell bent on creating an unconducive atmosphere for him to work.

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Raat Akeli Hai follows the pattern of most murder mysteries by suspending the lead detective to be able to solve the crime. Viewers are constantly left guessing the next path the movie will take and often times, this is not an easy thing to do. This movie highlights patriarchy in the society. The men in the movie often exert their dominance over the women, leaving them retreating to the background.

The women in Raat Akeli Hai are usually at the receiving end of the very rampant display of masculinity. They are the victims of this masculinity at its worst. Women are often not allowed to talk or share opinions, except for when it becomes absolutely necessary. This movie further portrays toxic masculinity in its little details; an example can be seen in the firing of guns at weddings to show Indian masculinity. When this occurs in the movie, it unfortunately covers up the noise of the murder being committed at the very same time.

This movie isn’t just about uncovering the murderer, it also highlights the sequence of events that follow the death of a rich man in the society. Radha, who is the new wife of the deceased, is also portrayed as one of the key suspects. The reason for this is that she is first in line to inherit Raghuveer’s property. Radha is a victim of a traumatic past and this further sharpens her instincts for survival. Also, the husband of the dead patriarch’s daughter who is played by Gyanendra Tripath covets Raghuveer’s assets, and will stop at nothing to achieve his desires.

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The quality of cast in this movie is worthy of note. Siddiqui and Tripathi are outstanding actors who have been called upon to deliver the message this movie conveys. They do this flawlessly by embodying the script and passionately living out the characters.

Tigmanshu Dhulia and Swanand Kirkire are two of the cast members that in addition to their impressive performance, also wrote two of the songs composed by talented musician Sneha Khanwalkar. Kirkire and Dhulia sail impressively through the plot of this movie and add quality to the movie.

Other cast members include Shreedhar Dubey, Aditya Srivastava and Nishant Dahiya (who plays the role of a policeman that is always at loggerheads with Jatil).

The movie was shot by cinematographer Pankaj Kumar who is popularly known for his work in Tumbbad and Talvar, and the flawless script was written by Smita Singh. The entire cast and crew for this movie worked in perfect cohesion to achieve this masterpiece. This movie has received acceptance from the cinematic scene not just in India, but across the world.

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