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Neeyat review: An amalgamation of murder mystery clichés whose strength lies in its final moments!

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Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Neeyat review


In our Neeyat review, we talk about how the film is a whodunnit that has stereotypical characters but still passes as a cozy murder mystery for this monsoon season!

Neeyat review: Apart from the huge isolated castle and a lot of the set design, Neeyat defies the assumptions that it is anything like Knives Out in terms of its story. It is in fact a mixture of many spooky elements we have seen in murder mysteries so far. Directed by Anu Menon, Neeyat is centered around Ashish Kapoor (Ram Kapoor) who is an extremely wealthy businessman. He has cheated his company, his employees and the banks of an unimaginable amount of money and yet here he was in his mansion, basking in his glory. His character feels like it is based off of Vijay Mallya with the way he dresses, the way his beard is always sharply trimmed and his party animal nature, all direct towards him. Ashish Kapoor is hosting a birthday party for himself in this castle where he invites his closest friends and family. 

Each of them is a walking cliché. Lisa (Shahana Goswami), Ashish’s hot and young girlfriend is all beauty and no brains. His son Ryan (Shashank Arora), is nothing but a cocaine addict and his mysterious girlfriend Gigi (Prajakta Koli) who since the beginning feels like she is hiding something. There was always a certain aura around her where it felt like there was a reason why she pursued Ryan to be his girlfriend and come to this party. Ashish’s best friends - Noor (Dipannita Sharma) and Sanjay Suri (Neeraj Kabi) fully leech off of his wealth. Ashish's brother-in-law Jimmy (Rahul Bose) is also is dependent on him when it comes to his income. Zara (Niki Walia), his therapist and tarot card reader roams around with her dog everywhere. Kay (Amrita Puri), his extremely loyal assistant would never disobey an order he gave and also kept an eye on everyone. We meet all of these guests through Tanveer’s (Danesh Razi) POV, who is the event manager of this entire party. 

Also Read: Vidya Balan and her 10 suspects revealed in Neeyat!

An evening that everyone was looking forward to quickly turns sober after Ashish announces that he is handing himself over to the authorities and all his assets will be seized the minute he returns to India. For this very reason, he invites CBI officer Mira Rao (Vidya Balan) to the party so he can be taken away the very next morning. But a few hours after he makes this announcement, he is found dead by falling off a cliff later that night. What is made to look like a suicide is actually a murder and now it is in Mira’s hands to solve this mystery of who amongst the people in the castle has the ‘neeyat’ (intention) to kill Ashish. As you uncover the story, you realise that everyone has various motives to do so but because of the nonlinear format followed in the film and the story being told from Mira’s POV, we as an audience also become a part of the guessing game of whodunnit. Except for Vidya Balan who pretty much holds this film together because of having experience in this genre before. The rest of the cast truly feel like caricatures. The dialogue delivery while they are conversing feels like they’re merely rehearsing their lines for the most part. Even during the jump scare moments that usually a murder mystery has, you might get startled for a minute but you will be able to predict it. 

What does work is the film’s underlying warnings that we miss out on. Throughout the film there is just one song playing in the background ‘farebi main, farebi tu’ which once you watch the film you realise was pretty much a hint towards the entire plot. Secondly, the mansion itself is called ‘Highgrave Castle’ and a grave is what it really became by the end of it. 

Without giving any spoilers, the real crux of the film is in the last 15 minutes. It proves every assumption, guess, theory of yours that you’ve had in your mind in those 2 hours completely wrong and takes a whole different turn. Just like the Agatha Christie novels, Neeyat has a climax after a climax and that’s what you really should wait for. You will feel not only just as deceived as the characters in the movie but it will also leave you with goosebumps. Which is why even after the quintessential murder mystery elements and the wasted talent of a great cast, this film manages to be watchable and the kind of murder mystery you watch with your friends on a rainy night.

Neeyat is currently playing at a theatre near you!

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