Netflix’s Nawazuddin-Radhika Apte thriller checks all the right boxes

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A still from the movie | Photo via Twitter
A still from the movie | Photo via Twitter

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You know that bittersweet feeling that hits when the final song of a film plays, and the end credits start to roll? And you linger on in the cinema hall, just to bask in the after-glow of a well-told story, and to cling to every last moment? That’s the feeling one gets after watching Raat Akeli Hai, Netflix’s new original that’s now streaming.

Honey Trehan’s film is a murder mystery and a thriller embedded in a complex family drama. Its story is told through the lens of police officer Jatil Yadav, played by the formidable Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The murder in question is of Raghubeer Singh, a powerful and politically connected businessman in Kanpur. Singh is found dead on the night of his wedding to Radha (played by Radhika Apte), his young mistress, who he was marrying after the death of his first wife.

Weddings are such a loud, festive affair in this Uttar Pradesh town that it’s hard to differentiate between the sound of gun shots fired by an excited baraat and those of a murder.

Jatil Yadav arrives on the scene in typical police swagger, pushing down doors of the family haveli and slapping defiant family members. He seems like the standard cop who loves his leather jackets and aviators, and is always up for a challenge.

But he soon realises that this case will not be so easy to crack. Everyone is a suspect, including Radha.

At two hours and 40 minutes, the film is long. But it is evenly paced in how the plot unfurls, and gets juicier with each new piece of the puzzle.

Solid writing, pitch-perfect performances

The film explores violence, corruption, the nexus between police and the state, politicians and their henchmen as a determined Yadav sets about finding the truth, irrespective of how many buttons he has to push.

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