Samrat & Co. Movie Review: Keeps You Guessing
Thankfully here is a suspense film that stays true to the genre and makes an honest attempt to keep a viewer guessing. Ok, so it may not be as polished a product as a Gupt or as intriguing as a Table No. 21; still the fact remains that when it comes to an overall narrative, director Kaushik Ghatak has his basics well in place. As a story teller he makes sure that there is never a dull moment whatsoever (save for a love song in the second half) in the film which has its core in Sherlock Holmes tales.
Sherlock Holmes - This is what apna desi hero Rajeev Khandelwal is who may have an average eyesight but carries a great vision. That's the irony which doesn't leave his side even as he gets attracted towards an unprecedented case when an attractive young woman (Madlasa) comes to him for help. After 'Sherlocking' her within first few moments itself, he finds himself in Simla in the middle of an extended 'khandaani' family where men and women of all shapes, sizes and styles reside.
Soon enough there are plants as well as human beings dying all around Samrat (one half expected Barjatya's favourite Tuffy to make a special appearance as well!) who pats himself on his back and also feel like a foolish in equal proportions. Unveiling of one 'rahasya' leads to another layer waiting to be explored and soon enough 'shaq ki sui' starts pointing at just about everyone - something which is the core requirement of a film belonging to this genre.
Of course a few suspects are easily discounted while a couple of more do make a deeper penetration into 'shaq ka ghera'. Still you do enjoy the proceedings as the film maintains a fast paced narrative with engaging dialogues mouthed by Rajeev. He talks to his desi Watson (who apes Vinay Pathak by the way) and at most times has a dialogue with himself. However, he never lets side of the audience which ensures that in his journey to get to the depth of the case, you do feel involved as well.
In the process you do feel towards the end that you have cracked the code before Samrat. But then a double twist does go a step ahead. Ok, so it is not all shocking but then it isn't pointless either, something that otherwise is traditionally the bane of a suspense film. In case of 'Samrat & Co.', you do feel content with what has been offered. So much so that you are even willing to ignore the sub-standard VFX right through the film. Also, a good background score (reminding again of 'Table No. 21') brings in good energy to the proceedings.
Talking of energy, Rajeev displays that quite well and demonstrates his conviction. He is quite good and comes every bit as an intelligent character with inherent wit. Madlasa shows further improvement over her debut act in Angel and looks good too. Priyanshu Chatterjee is good yet again in a serious role after a comic part in Rajdhani Express last year. Indraneil Sengupta is decent. Shreya Narayan doesn't have much to do. Rajneesh Duggal is impressive in his small part while boasting of a good physique. Smita Jaykar brings unintentional laughter. Girish Karnad's part could have been done by anyone.
The film ends on a note which gives a clear indication of Samrat & Co. being developed as a franchise with Part 2 in the offering. If the first in the series is anything to go by, it would be good to see what the makers have to offer next.