‘Knives Out!’ is not ‘Neeyat! Contrary to what the movie’s first impression seems to be, the movie is disappointing. ‘Neeyat’s’ narrative is unique, aside from the fact that it takes place in a remote castle in Scotland. Are there any recurring themes in the murder mystery genre? Sure. Is it reminiscent of something we may have previously seen? Perhaps. Does it merit a viewing?
Story: Exiled businessman Ashish Kapoor, also known as AK (Ram Kapoor), celebrates his birthday with his loved ones at a majestic castle on a stormy night in Scotland. While there is already a sense of tension in the room in the opening shot, things really started to deteriorate when AK revealed a significant choice that included detective Mira Rao (Vidya Balan). You may read about what happens next in Neeyat, but this alteration in the course of events triggers a series of related occurrences.
Performances: Although Vidya Balan’s portrayal of a CBI employee during the narrative is perplexing and frequently infuriating, there is a reason for that understated representation, and the actress skillfully brings that to life on the big screen. However, I would like to add that from a genre standpoint, I hope the filmmakers would have chosen a different approach to show that side of Mira Rao’s personality, as the lack of confidence, especially in the second half, truly tries your patience. While Neeraj Kabi, Niki Walia, Amrita Puri, and Danesh Razvi were miscast for their roles, Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Shahana Goswami, Dipannita Sharma Atwal, and Prajakta Koli lived up to their roles.
Technicalities: How Anu developed a universe that is familiar and close to home for our audience is truly astounding. The twists develop in a non-linear manner, making you a player in the “guessing game,” as opposed to being relegated to just being a “detective” drama.
Like Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, a highly innovative picture in the genre, the story is decent and has a surprising element. Anu Menon, despite adhering to the clichés of the “locked room murder mystery” subgenre, nonetheless manages to provide something fresh. The performances, though, are the one thing that let the tale down.
Analysis : The setting of Menon’s world is its most breathtaking feature. The entire incident takes place in one house and the neighbourhood around it. Its desolate and unsettling atmosphere made for the ideal setting for a suspense thriller. Production designer Stacey Dickinson did a lovely job of realising this concept, but DOP Andreas Neo also did a great job of keeping most of the shots lively and responsive. I do believe, though, that the palace should have been used to its fullest potential to heighten the story’s tension rather than only serving as a prop.
Furthermore, Aastha Sharma’s costumes maintained faithful to the setting while background music helped elevate pompous passages.
While the plot is mediocre and somewhat predictable, the execution of the plot is considerably worse. It takes an eternity to get to the murder, and once there, it keeps adding a tonne of superfluous layers, which has no bearing on the mystery aspect of the plot. Screenplay authors Anu Menon, Priya Venkataraman, Advaita Kala, and Girvani Dhyani, as well as editor Adam Moss, might have focused a little more on this aspect. Pace is one of the most crucial elements of a strong suspense-driven narrative. The dialogue and staged, prepared sequences didn’t help this snooze fest, nor did Kausar Munir’s remarks seem to add much appeal.
For instance, speech that immediately ordered the necessary action could have easily replaced lines like “I need a volunteer.” The movie contains a lot of tiny incidents like these that may have been improved to make the story move along more quickly. Jamie B. Chambers oversaw forgettable action.
Verdict: Neeyat is a circumstance when the glass is half full, but you won’t let it slide. The acting and stylization of the movie alone make it entertaining. There are also a few eerie scenes in it. However, the film deserved a much tighter storyline, as well as more tension and surprise aspects, since it was a thriller. Vidya Balan is enchanting once more.
Rating : 2/5