The Raat is Mildly Interesting, Terribly Long and is a Tiresome Watch
Rating: 3 cups of chai so you don’t fall asleep
‘I will reach the truth, no matter what’ promises Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is the policeman in charge of the investigation of a murder of a rich old man who has just married his ‘rakhail’. Everyone at home looks suspicious and have a motive. The film makes us go through the elimination process and kills innocent bystanders (yawn!). If you are a fan of detective stories, then this is too tiresome, but there are many interesting things about this film.
Mere Paas Maa Hai
Nawazuddin is a cop named Jatil Yadav. (After Hathiram Choudhary in Pataal Lok, an unusual name for a cop does not even ask for an eye roll, but they explain it because they think it’s clever: mother made a spelling error Jatin ko Jatil bana diya). His relationship with his mother is the best thing in the movie.
Ila Arun plays his mother, who wants him to get married, misses conversation, gets ragged at him for not talking to her nicely and replaces his cream with fair and lovely…If you need one reason to see this film, this should be it.
Mere Paas Sidekick Hai
The second reason is his sidekick Nandu (played wonderfully by Shreedhar Dubey) who works with Nawazuddin, offers a counterpoint, and even begins dressing like Nawazuddin after Nawaz is out of the picture. I loved that change in Nandu (he wears a leather jacket, and sunglasses and walks with a swagger).
Is Raat Mein Bahut Tropes Hain
Otherwise the story of a haveli with interesting dubious characters is a trope. The aunt who spies, the girl who doesn’t care about the dead patriarch, the rakhail who is dames, the pregnant daughter with a loud, angry husband, the son who is the rakhail’s secret lover, the maid servant who has seen everything but won’t say anything.
The cops and political leaders are straight out of a stereotype too: the hero cop (leather jacket, sunglasses, motorbike swag), the sidekick who is part of the system but will change his opinion, the corrupt chief of police, the politician who uses power to corrupt the situation, the politician’s goons who do his dirty work…
I know we have now have access to shows from all around the world and see sexually deviant content, and I would be stupid to say fathers don’t rape daughters in India because we are sanskari…but showing the old patriarch take pictures of the young woman is just not necessary.
Plus some red herrings are just needless (will not add spoilers). Also no one can tell us convincingly why the old man had to marry his rakhail.
The only thing weird was the romance between Radhika Apte (who plays the ‘rakhail’) and Nawazuddin even though we are given broad hints by the conversation he has with his mom. ‘You can put conditions on with who you are going to fall in love’. You know the more he says he wants a ‘cultured woman’ he’s going to find one that is off kilter.
It’s a better watch than Lootcase on Disney Plus Hotstar, that’s for sure. Nawazuddin delivers. The problem with a who dun it is that it has too many whos who could’ve done it, and it painstakingly goes through each one, so… I yawned so many times.
The biggest grouse: I love this song from Jewel Thief and it’s really unfair to use it as title for the film.