Raat Akeli Hai Review: A gritty whodunnit murder mystery that keeps you engrossed throughout! | Business Upturn

Raat Akeli Hai Review: A gritty whodunnit murder mystery that keeps you engrossed throughout!


Starcast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte
Director: Honey Trehan
Writer: Smita Singh
Streaming on: Netflix

Ratings: 3.5/5

The title of the film Raat Akeli Hai has been taken from the famous song of Jewel Thief that features Tanuja and Dev Anand. Like the song, the story is set in the bosom of a night with a different scenario. The song is sensual and provocative but the film, on the contrary, is a dark tale of revenge and death. It begins with the death of an upper-class Lucknow businessman on his wedding night. The story starts with him being shot and the rest of it is a who dunnit murder mystery. The primary suspects are his family members who reside with him in a dysfunctional manner.

The film unfurls from the police officer’s point of view. Officer Jatil Yadav is equally likeable and cringeworthy throughout the movie. His mother wants him to get married immediately but his ‘dark skin tone’ has put him behind in this race. The stubborn but confident Jatil, drives every scene as and when he finds out the doings of the family. He is complex and gets knee-deep into the muck of the situation. His honesty as a police officer comes through clearer in the first go itself. The family’s dynamics and complications start becoming apparent in layers like an onion peel, some are sexual assaulters, some killers while some are rapists. The man-woman relationship is limited to sexual desires. They are traded, ignored and are considered to be inferior. The writer, Smita Singh, matched the deep-rooted patriarchy in a synchronised way so much so that it all seems effective and gives out a crucial message in the entirety. We have seen similar empowerment matriarchs with ‘Bulbull’ with greater end messages.

The film has it all corruption, murder, greed, inferences and ulterior motives. The first hour is gripping, the story folds out eventually and holds up with the twists and turns. However, the second hour gets a little stretched. With the movie directly releasing on an OTT platform, the film gets too long with the 2.5-hour length. Editor, A. Sreekar Prasad, should have wrapped up the story 15 to 20 minutes earlier to keep that excitement intact throughout.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Jatil and carries the entire film beautifully. He manages make his character look plausible as the man who wants justice. Radhika Apte too plays to her strength, however, this is nothing we haven’t seen, she has done a similar character before, but having said that, the performance seems so fresh. The fiesty attitude, frustration and anger are seen clearly throughout her screen time. The supporting cast of Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi are solid actors who add to the suspicious story. Ila Arun, who plays Nawaz’s mother, gives us a fun few lines keeping the story compelling.

Debutant director, Honey Trehan, is true to his mentors Abhishek Chaubey and Vishal Bhardwaj. Like them, he can capture the darker emotions and essence with underlining many social norms.

Writer, Smita Singh, does a good job with the mystery and suspense build-up. However, he tries to fit in too many social messages in one film. Racism, sexism, patriarchy, corruption are all squeezed into the story and some parts don’t do justice. DoP, Pankaj Kumar, is able to capture the dark ambience [both mental and physical] that is inherent in the narrative. The locations aren’t fancy but are an integral part of the story.
Raat Akeli Hai is a fair balance between the genres it tries to tackle. Its compelling start and twisted and unexpected climax makes it a good watch for this weekend.