Duration: 2 hours 12 minutes
Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Shahana Goswami, Niki Walia, Prajakta Koli, Neeraj Kabi, Shashank Arora, Dipannita Sharma, Danesh Razvi, Amrita Puri
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Neeyat review rating
Vidya Balan starrer Neeyat movie review rating
Ashish Kapoor aka AK is a rich Indian businessman who is hosting his birthday party in his big castle in Scotland. He has invited his friends and family to be a part of his celebrations. However, a surprise guest of AK, CBI officer Mira Rao, takes everyone aback. The things turn weirder as AK is found dead and everyone at the party becomes a suspect. As Mira tries to unfold the mystery behind the suicide/murder, many dark secrets are uncovered. Is it a suicide or a murder and who is behind it all, makes for a thrilling tale.
Neeyat poster featuring Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose
Neeyat REVIEW: Highlights and Drawbacks
First of all, before I start my review of Neeyat, let me clarify that this Vidya Balan starrer is not a remake of Knives Out. After the trailer and seeing the film’s setting many of us, including me, had this doubt. However, apart from just a little backdrop and some whodunnit cliches, Anu Menon’s thriller is an original story.
Now, with that out of the way let’s get into the film. The film is about a rich businessman Ashish Kapoor aka AK, played by Ram Kapoor. Firstly, let me just say that whenever Ram comes on screen now, it feels that makers just stick to him being Mr Kapoor. His real life surname has become his on screen one too. No creativity there.
The film starts by introducing each and every character of our story. You get a background of where they come from and their equation with AK. It helps when you try to decode who can be the murderer. While the setting and the plot is really edge-of-the seat kind, the screenplay somewhere lets it down.
The suicide/murder happens around the interval point. So, the whole investigation, which actually is the most intriguing part in a whodunnit, gets only half the length of the film to take place. Thus, inadvertently, the first half seems dragged while the second half feels rushed.
Although, I will give credit to Anu for creating a discomfort and uneasiness before the death that helps you be immersed in the setting. There is a darkness that leaves you curious instead of being appalled. The castle works as a perfect setting for the story, and the storm adds to it. The background music works its charm too. The whole aura is inviting.
But having said that, it’s the performances that let the film down. With an ensemble as big as Neeyat, you need everyone to be at their A game. But here, only a few people give their best and even they are off at times. Even though Vidya has done good work here, she is still not at her best. And somewhere, a huge reason for that would be Anu as she isn’t able to pull out better performances from her actors. Everyone is pretty average in their performances and that is the reason that even with an intriguing plot, the film remains average at best.
Vidya Balan as CBI officer Mira Rao is shown with high level of intelligence in Neeyat. But her physical demeanor is shown very timid and nervous, which you understand why as the film progresses. While she is good, she isn’t at par with some of her previous performances. Kahaani was a thriller with a twist too, and there Vidya was exceptional. Yet, if it is Vidya, you know she can never be bad. Even her average is better than many actor’s good or great.
Ram Kapoor pulls off an impressive act but it isn’t something that we have never seen before from him. Although, I must credit him for the fact that he does bring in the aura that you would expect from a man with the stature that his character AK has.
Niki Walia is an actress I love and admire. But here, it felt like she was trying to pull off a speaking style that just didn’t connect to me as an audience. Still, she makes up for it to a certain extent with her acting prowess. But overall, a slight disappointment.
Rahul Bose as the flamboyant gay man starts off with a stereotypical portrayal. In 2023, you expect a better representation of the gay community. His role was a big disappointment actually. Prajakta Koli still has to refine her acting skills. She tries but still feels a little amateur, especially in a frame with artists like these.
Neeraj Kabi was a little shocker for me. That man is known for his nuances, but here he was over the top. There is a scene with him and Dipannita Sharma where he was to show his intensity and frustration. Instead, it seemed clumsy and involuntarily funny. As for the actress, she is unfortunately forgettable in the film.
Shashank Arora as a spoilt brat is good but unexplored as an actor in the film it feels. Amrita Puri has the same issue. She acts well, barring a few scenes where she tries to be a little loud. But even her acting skills seem underutilised in the plot. Shahana Goswami gets to play a glamorous role and it is indeed something new for her. And she does look convincing as AK’s girlfriend. She gives one of the better performances in the film.
Danesh Razvi as event manager Tanveer is charming as required from his role. He seems well suited for the part and he acts well too. But whenever he tries to be sarcastic, which he does quite a few times in the film, his act falters. Still considering it amongst the better parts.
As a cinema lover, it hurts me when I see good plot let down by average performances. This is the case with Neeyat. While no one is straightaway bad in the film, no one rises high either. Middle of the ground, that’s where everyone strays and eventually, even with a good story, the film also stays at that level. Vidya and a surprise cameo do try to elevate the film but somewhere it falls short. A one time watch perhaps, but in all honesty, a good opportunity not grabbed properly.