Choppy editing, and wasted talent ruin what could have been a solid movie.
Thus, when I saw the trailer of the Hindi version of Hit: The First Case,I was intrigued. Give me a troubled man who hasn’t dealt with his trauma, someone who is seeking solace in the very violence that is the cause of his trauma. I am here for characters that are essentially torturing themselves. And to a limited extent, the movie does deliver on that front. The rest, however, leaves much to be desired.
Setting Up The Whodunnit
Rajkummar Rao plays Vikram Jaisingh, a.k.a. Vicky, who has had a violent and troubled past. He is struggling with PTSD because he witnessed a loved one burning to death. Fire paralyzes him with fear. Paradoxically, he works as a cop in the Homicide Investigation Team (HIT).
He is romantically involved with Neha Mehta (Sanya Malhotra), a forensic analyst. Concerned over his erratic behavior and his squabbles with his colleague Abhilash (Jatin Goswami), Neha convinces him to take a sabbatical to unwind.
His time off is cut short when someone he cares about goes missing. He soon connects her disappearance with another missing person’s case—that of Preeti Mathur, who was last seen on the highway by SI Ibrahim Sheik (Milind Gunaji). From there, the movie follows Vikram as he searches for the two women, while fighting his own demons.
Wasted Talents And Efforts
The movie is a Hindi remake of a 2020 Telugu thriller, HIT: The First Case,helmed by the same writer-director, Shailesh Kolanu.With a star cast like Rajkummar Rao and Saniya Malhotra, it is expected that their immense talent would be explored.
But with Saniya Malhotra being relegated to flashbacks and romantic scene, Rajkummar Rao is left to do the heavy lifting. His efforts and Saniya’s talent are just wasted. It doesn’t help that the supporting cast speaks mostly in monotones, struggling with their one-line character descriptions. A veteran like Dalip Tahil is reduced to appear randomly in the scene to shout “hey” and “who do you think I am?,” while Milind Gunaji gets an unnecessarily long side plot.
The Biggest Gripes
I had two major gripes with the movie. One is its pace. The film seems to be in a rush to go from point A to B to C, to the point that sometimes it feels like I am watching a different movie altogether. The strange choppy editing and jump cuts only add to the general feeling of rushed chaos.
My other issue was the absolute bonkers of a climax. I am willing to suspend my disbelief to some extent, but the actors and the story did nothing for me to be convinced or even care for the characters who turned out to be the final big-bads. The message that comes at the end feels insincere and tacked on.
Beautiful Music And Rajkummar Rao
Mithoon’s music is soulful and adds to the movie. Jubin Nautiyal’s stunning vocals croon Tinka over the opening credits and I have caught myself humming it a few times. It is worth a listen. Rajkummar Rao gives it his all in this nothing movie. His portrayal of fear, of PTSD, of his tenacious control over himself is stellar. He is one of those actors who becomes the character, and here too, he embodies the tortured character perfectly. Both the actor and this character deserve a better story.
The thing is, somewhere in there was a much better movie. Just some tweaks, and the story could have been so much better. They had all the materials to go the Shutter Island route, which is where I thought this was going for a little while, but the final reveal is so underwhelming and illogical that it undoes anything good that the movie might have had. Which, admittedly, isn’t much.