Hit—The First Case is dry, uninvolving thriller

Rajkummar Rao plays an investigator with a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Hit—The First Case. Photo: Universal Communications 

Remakes, nowadays, are strictly passé. With the OTT platforms making the originals ‘free’ly available, a successful film is easily accessed with subtitles (or in rare cases, dubbing) and the commercial scope of a remake—unless significantly changed and with high entertainment quotient—is zilch.

Hit—The First Case is the latest remake off the block. It is a thriller that, at face value, seems quite engaging. Director and writer Dr. Sailesh Kolanu had assured audiences that he has rewritten the original, justifying a pan-Indian remake. But the change, as per someone who has watched the original, is merely cosmetic and equally as absurd as in the original. In fact, given pan-Indian sensibilities vis-à-vis that of the comparatively evolved South audiences, the ending here would have worked better down there, and vice-versa!

Also, an essentially needless complication here is the PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) suffered by the hero, Vikram (Rajkummar Rao), a top member of the HIT (Homicide Intervention Team) squad. If it is meant to be a red herring, it sorely does not work. If not, it really has no connection with the proceedings and the denouement, other than the fact that it frequently disorients Vikram. But then, he could have been as easily be affected emotionally by something current, like some case he has handled.

Despite the past trauma, which is never explained to make way for a possible (???) sequel, Vikram’s intelligence and wit is sharper than the proverbial razor, which makes the whole issue superfluous. The writer and fan may argue that Vikram would not have fought with his girlfriend and forensic colleague Neha (Sanya Malhotra) had it not been for his PTSD, but a dozen convincing reasons could have been shown to cause a lovers’ tiff!

The story begins with the disappearance of a girl named Preeti (Rose Khan) from a highway (this is the major loophole in the script as the killer could not have possibly known that she would take her car, instead of, say, her father, for a long drive that day!). Her car breaks down and she refuses help from a passing cop, Ibrahim (Milind Gunaji) as he is alone and there is no female constable! Forget the fact that Ibrahim could have summoned one, but finally, Preeti goes missing.

Her case is being followed up by Neha and she keeps Vikram’s colleague Rohit (Akhil Iyer) in the loop. Then the Vikram-Neha fight happens and his departure for a vacation. He is, however, determined to return when he is soon informed that Neha too has gone missing, only to find that his mocking rival (Jatin Goswami) has been assigned her case. And then, among the clues and loose ends and routine investigations, he finds that the two girls’ disappearances and possible murders are connected.

There is so much emphasis also on DNAs of suspects as assorted as Preeti’s father (Hemraj Tiwari), the lady who runs the orphanage from where she was adopted (Geeta Sodhi), Preeti’s older friend and neighbor (Shilpa Shukla), Preeti’s friends and associates and more. The setting is Rajasthan, unlike in the original, but as I said, cosmetic changes hardly help.

Dr. Sailesh Kolanu does a fair job of the direction and yet does not reach the heights of great thrillers, or even average ones like the recent Forensic. And that is because there is no genuine emotion, no solid motivation even for the killer and what the killer does, and the procedural investigations are so dry. The conflict between Vikram and his colleague seems tackily forced and almost juvenile for responsible HIT agents, and the red herring of a remark by Ibrahim in his encounter with Preeti is soon dismissed anyway.

The performances are average—Rajkummar Rao putting in a very average turn in a mix of his previous performances in assorted films. Milind Gunaji and Sanjay Narvekar (as Neha’s chief) impress, while Dalip Tahil as the HIT team’s boss seems to have a walk-on part—he walks in at convenient moments and walks out, without contributing anything remotely constructive! Akhil Iyer as Rohit and Sanya Malhotra as Neha truly impress and we would have liked to see more of them. In fact, Sanya seems to be wasted.

This is the fourth South remake in recent times (after the impressive Jersey also helmed by the original directors, Operation Romeo and Forensic) that will fail to make the audience acceptance grade. See this film and you will not carry anything home. Miss it and you won’t lose much. For whodunit addicts like me, this proves, as with Forensic, that an unpredictable end is not all that a film of this genre needs. It is overall involvement in the proceedings for the viewer—including the end.

And that is missing here, just like Preeti and Neha within the film!

Rating: ** 

T-Series Films & Dil Raju Productions present Hit: The First Case  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Dil Raju & Kuldeep Rathore   Directed by: Dr. Sailesh Kolanu Written by: Dr. Sailesh Kolanu & Girish Kohli Music: Mithoon, Manan Bhardwaj  Starring: Rajkummar Rao, , Sanya Malhotra, Shanu Kumar, Rohan Singh, Shilpa Shukla, Sanjay Narvekar, Milind Gunaji, Dalip Tahil, Jatin Goswami, Noyrika Bhatheja, Rose Khan, Akhil Iyer, Nuveksha, Hemraj Tiwari, Geeta Sodhi, Raviraj, Chinmaya Madan, Imran Syed & others





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