Director Randeep Jha’s film starts off at an intriguing note, but gets plain and too routine on the way
Halahal opens with a crime chase sequence in dark in the raw and rustic ravines of Haryana. Something extreme happens when the action breaks for a breather. It is a very intriguing setup for an opening sequence wherein you are immediately invested in the drama to unfold soon. But the film eventually doesn’t carry on with the same thrill. This is one of those films that if made into a web-series, would have had a greater impact, with details to offer.
Watch the trailer here:
The murder/suicide/accident of a medical student takes her father Dr. Shiv (Sachin Khedekar) on a journey to dig the truth.
The concept by Sandeep Gade and the story by Zeishan Quadri are appealing at first. You are promised of powerhouse thrill laced with suspense in equal measures with something constantly to be amazed at. While deliberate attempt has been made to infuse the plot with necessary elements of the genre, the screenplay by Gibran Noorani doesn’t justify the story fruitfully. On paper, the idea is fantastic. But the film is a clear case of half-baked screenplay putting a good idea on the backseat.
It is one of those cases where the film seems to be written by some amateurs who aren’t able to understand the importance of research and detailing. Now, calling it a bad film would be unfair. Because clearly this one isn’t a bad one. The notion here is the difference between good and very good.
Soon after the film takes off, it gets slow. Very slow. Moving slowly towards the investigation into the crime shown in the first sequence, the film starts to take a toll on you. Not that the film is dull and boring. But because of the pace of the film, even the twists and puzzling elements of the film don’t seem interesting enough.
The film towards the second half talks about an education scam at play. It’s an insightful thought of positioning the film on the backdrop of something happening at such larger and discreet level, especially the systemic involvement of youth. But you don’t get to see things in the scam from within. It is only a glance from a far off position. The people involved are too polished and it seems a convenient affair for everyone of them.
As the film progresses, the drama has been convoluted, for the sake of it. If this were to happen in real, a lot would have been at stake. Here it is not. People are being killed. There is palpable tension for the characters in the film, but not for you as audience. The execution lacks that punch.
Sachin Khedekar has done well. But it’s known that he is capable of much more than this. Here it is a plain character with not much scope to perform. He does fine and suits the role, but it’s a wafer thin character sketch with uni-direction scheme to perform on.
Barun Sobti has done very well. As a corrupt officer who gets his conscience right, he has shades. But again, the writers haven’t given correct arc to his character. He is bad, then good. How? Why? He feels bad in the end. Why should he? All these are points that his character needed to address.
Manu Rishi has a very brief appearance and he is just okay. Clearly under utilised.
Background score is good and suits the film. There is enough to adore about the score. The thrill and suspense are rightly justified by thorough usage of score.
Piyush Putty’s camera is fine and nothing to be complained about. The dark scenes are very nicely shot, giving the sinister appeal. The opening scene takes the cake. Production design by Mrinal Das and Alok Haldar is also not bad, though it could have been a little better in terms of connect.
Nitesh Bhatia’s editing is the best that could be achieved in this plot. Whatever thrill you get and whatever points you are invested for in the film, is majorly because of the flow brought in by editing.
A good idea is let down by a very basic and routine screenplay. No details. No gruelling drama. Not something concrete to say. The film won’t have too many takers.