HIT - The First Case
There are seldom instances where you can get an actor like Rajkummar Rao on-board for your film and go horribly wrong. Oh wait! There was Hum Do Humare Do, when it happened. Anyway, Rao now stars and is literally at the helm of things with HIT - The First Case, that is actually a remake of Telugu film of the same name. Does the aforementioned instance occur with this film? Read on to find out.
Having had the chance to see HIT - The First Case before hand, here's what I thought of it-
The Story & Screenplay
It becomes an arduous task to judge a remake for its story and screenplay that is pretty much a frame-to-frame rework of the original. A Homicide Intervention Team (HIT) officer is landed with a complicated case as he also deals with his personal demons and post-traumatic stress. That is pretty much the gist of it. The original film was actually quite a mediocre film in its own manner but it can be said that the treatment is elevated here mainly owing to some nuances and cultural changes. Director Sailesh Kolanu, who also directed the original makes necessary and effective changes with the screenplay that definitely elevates the overall experience in more ways than one.
The Cinematography & Subtlety
One of the biggest plus points for HIT - The First Case is the incredible cinematography, rousing sound design and some subtle moments. Some shots in the film are well done and one can see that cinematographer S. Manikandan has made sure to capture it well. Some extra zoom-ins and camera work is phenomenal and the same is only made better with great score by Anirban Sengupta.
But it is the subtlety in multiple moments that make the biggest impact - be it the hilarious reactions of Rao's character and how feminist he is or be it some funny dialogues thrown in by his character that highlight the state of women in general - all that make for entertaining viewing.
Huge Build-Up to an Underwhelming End
HIT - The First Case suffers from the age-old problem possibly every whodunnit film faces. The build-up of the entire suspense and mystery is fabulous. It is well-crafted and Rao's Vikram becomes you, the viewer and you start looking at everything from his angle. However, the final reveal and the motive behind that turns out to be rather underwhelming. It isn't that it is badly done or the film has too many loopholes with the mystery but just the overall arc and finale isn't as 'shocking' as you would anticipate it to be. Whodunnits are you meant to make you go bonkers - HIT - The First Case doesn't.
Two calls made by the makers left me more perplexed than others. One is that the idea of giving Rao's character a strong back story and reason of dealing with post-traumatic stress which continues to be a health hazard for him isn't quite justified. It is also explained well but it doesn't seem to be lending too much to the story. Another puzzling call is to cast a fine actor like Sanya Malhotra is such an irrelevant character. Granted, her character becomes the reason for a lot of things that Rao's Vikram is motivated for but Malhotra barely has any screentime in the film and even worse - nothing to portray as an actor. A pity to see a fine artist like her being reduced to nothing.
The Rajkummar Rao Show
Oh boy! Can this man do no wrong? Even in the worst films, Rao has shined and here, even though HIT isn't bad by any means, it only becomes 'pretty good' because of the fine talent that is Rao. He is potentially in every frame of the movie and he hits it out of the park literally everytime. If not for him, this film would have been a mediocre film just like the original.
In the end, Rajkummar Rao elevates a basic whodunnit into an engaging tale with an underwhelming climax.
Rating - *** (3/5)