One Friday Night is a flawed but passable thriller

Vidhi Chitalia and Raveena Tandon in One Friday Night. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The film has the right atmospherics for a thriller. The background score (Goyell Saab) may occasionally be a tad loud but it is nevertheless evocative—a massive improvement on current (largely) guitar-based drones. The cinematography is appropriately misty, foggy and blinding—a key character in the limited-cast film film is rain in overdrive, which drives the plot in every way,

The story tries going a shade deeper. A moneyed executive, Ram (Not Gopal! Sorry could not resist that!) Varma (Milind Soman), who has cash in sackfuls (or to be literal, a cash safe-full), is having a fling for four months with a young struggling dancer, Nirosha (Vidhi Chitalia). On the pretext of flying to Nagpur for a business meeting, he takes her to his farmhouse villa near Mumbai for a lust-filled weekend.

Ram has been married for 20 years to gynecologist Dr. Lata (Raveena Tandon), but the couple is ironically childless. Nirosha is in need of money and Ram shows her his open safe, telling her that the dough there is all hers!

At the rendezvous, Nirosha also declares that she is two months pregnant, and Ram is overjoyed as he will finally become a father. He sends his sole domestic (Ambrish Saxena) in his Mercedes to a shop 40 kilometres away (!!) in the pouring rain to get his favorite pastry! But he is upset when Nirosha tells him that he has to marry her and split from his wife, announcing their relationship to the world.

In the events that follow, Nirosha pushes Ram and by accident, he falls off the first-floor balcony. He is injured, barely conscious and a panic-stricken Nirosha tries to contact an ambulance. But the networks are bad, and in desperation, she calls Lata from Ram’s phone (which connects!) and tells her of the accident. Lata herself tries to reach for an ambulance, but thanks to the rain, nothing is available. Shocked to know that her husband is not in Nagpur, she drives down, forgetting her mobilephone at home in her hurry.

The two women bring Ram up to the bedroom and then have a confrontation, finally leading to Lata telling Nirosha to leave. But Ram pleads with Lata to not let her go as they love each other. Nirosha tells Lata that she had come to her clinic two months back to confirm her pregnancy and get the baby aborted, but Lata had advised her against it and told her to get the baby’s father so that she could convince him. Finally, Lata agrees to divorce Ram. But a shocking twist happens.

One Friday Night has a great and realistic premise of extramarital affair opening up by chance, but goes a shade askew in the details and logic. It is pathetic to see Nirosha, totally wet in abbreviated dress, not changing into dry apparel during the whole proceedings, even after Ram is settled in bed.

Lata’s telling a pregnant Nirosha to leave in a downpour without any conveyance, until Ram stops her, is absurd, as the villa is in the middle of nowhere. The servant who also drives a Mercedes (!) gets stuck in the floods when the car conks off on his pastry-seeking mission but does not even bother to call up Ram and tell him of the situation! Finally, when the idea was to spend a weekend together, why should Ram insist on his favorite pastry on the same night when it is raining cats, dogs and horses outside?

Finally, it is implausible that a good gynecologist does not remember a patient who is not a routine one but has come for an abortion and has been advised against it just two months back!

All these (vital) detailing pull down a thriller with potential to average fare that can be watched if you have nothing else to do at home. For one, it is only 92 minutes long and if we can overlook the gaping holes (there is one more mammoth one concerning Lata that would be a total spoiler for those who will watch!) in the script, you can find it worth a one-time visit.

The other plus in the film (apart from the cinematography and background score) is Vidhi Chitalia. The petite actress, seen in some TV series and in a minor role in Serious Men, is a delight in her sassy and uninhibited performance. Her eyes and body language express varied emotions expertly and she stands up boldly in face-offs and sequences with Raveena Tandon and Milind Soman, who are two decades and one decade her seniors. Her character’s moral ambiguity—is she a gold-digger?—also helps her in the nuances. Raveena and Milind are competent.

Wish, however, that they had ironed out the illogicalities and also infused some depth into the clash between wife and mistress, which is shown all-too-briefly.

Rating: **1/2

Jio Cinema presents Jio Studios & Click on RM Studios’ One Friday Night  Produced by: Jyoti Deshpande & Manish Trehan  Directed by: Manish Gupta Written by: Kamal Chopra, Manish Gupta & Ramesh Rabindranath  Music: Goyell Saab Starring: Raveena Tandon, Milind Soman, Vidhi Chitalia, Hemant K. Gaur, Ambrish Saxena & others



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