There must be something about the plot or concept of this film titled 'U Turn,' that it has spawned 7 adaptations since its original release in 2016 and was filmed in Kannada. Samantha Ruth Prabhu starred in the Tamil rendition, and now we have Alaya Furniturewalla for the Hindi one. What could possible happen to the motorists who are taking the U Turn? Who is doing it? Is there any supernatural power involved? So will you be able to ride through it or will you have to take a U Turn? Read here.
Plot and Screenplay
The plot centres around motorists who lift concrete blocks from a divider at the NTPC flyover (which actually stars feeling like the film's pivotal character after a point of time) while trying to make a U-turn, resulting in multiple accidents. It tells the narrative of Radhika, a journalism intern who emerges the prime suspect in an array of unfortunate killings while researching a news story about the same flyover.
The writing is crisp and balanced till a point, but the imposition of supernatural elements and subsequently diverting the plot away from reality makes it a little amateurish and loses viewers' attention. Director Arif has played it smart when it comes to the packaging of the content. Unlike other whodunit fictions, this one is not-so-predictable and surprises you at many points.
The paranormal elements at play
The film has been touted as a supernatural thriller, and it delivers on that aspect quite well. In the first half of the film, viewers can expect a few jump scares and eye-shutting moments especially if they are not accustomed to watching horror movies. The filmmaker has included sequences that feature figures with bloody and disfigured faces, which heighten the ghostly element of the film. One well-crafted scene involves Alaya sitting in her office during broad daylight and boom..appears a so-called ghost. This scene effectively showcases the horror element of the film. While the first half of the film focuses on the supernatural, the latter half shifts to a more conventional thriller.
The Thrilling Treatment
The first half of U Turn impresses with its gripping storyline. The sudden abduction of the reporter and the series of unfortunate deaths keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Creators masterfully weaves twists and turns into the investigation, creating an element of shock and awe. However, the second half of the film fails to maintain the momentum of the first half. The thriller loses its grip and becomes uneventful. The climax although interesting is unnecessarily prolonged, making the 128-minute runtime feel tedious. Although the film starts off strong, it falls short of delivering a crisp story.
Alaya F as Radhika holds on to the script and delivers a decent performance. The emotions are shelled out well and she does strike a balance when it comes to portraying different faces of the same character. Playing a lead in a story where other elements can over-power an individual persona, Alaya manages to shine throughout.
Priyanshu Painyuli as Inspector Arjun Sinha is smart, sharp and has a powerful screen presence. When he teams up with Radhika, it reflects a great camaraderie. Aashim Gulati and Rajesh Sharma delivers decent performances as required by the script. Manu Rishi makes you chuckle with the one liners and has something huge to offer.
The Setting and BGM
The setting and BGM does add to the thrill and suspense. They do justice to the plotline and have been taken care of. Eerie atmosphere, breezy nights, rain and thundering, dark shattered buildings, zombie face, all the cliched tropes of a whodunit have been used to create and elevate the tension. The flyover has been focused on with various camera angles at various points of time, providing it the importance of a main character, which eventually it turns out to be.
Overall, you can ride through this Arif Khan directorial without taking a U-Turn and finish off the eventful ride with a good and gripping plotline & strong performances.
*** (3/5) stars