HIT: The First Case (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – The Hindi remake of the Telugu film Hit (2020)

My Take – The trend of Hindi adaptions of South Indian films continues with this latest release which sees writer-director Sailesh Kolanu create a virtually shot-for-shot remake of his own successful Telugu original from two years ago, but only with a higher profile cast, different setting, and a different motive for the crime committed.

With an intriguing premise in hand, the film delivers a sharp, if slightly over-the-top murder mystery that keeps you guessing till the end, a quality which today’s thrillers seem to have lost. Unfortunately, while remaking director Kolanu also brings along the 2020 film’s multitude of issues resulting in several falters and lags especially in its second half.

Though he keeps us constantly engaged with a constant flow of information throughout, he also brings in an unnecessarily modification in the climax, which certainly brings it one level down from the original thriller. Nevertheless, anchored by Rajkummar Rao‘s strong tormented detective act, the film manage to spring out just enough to work as an old-school enjoyable murder mystery.

Set in Jaipur, the story follows Vikram (Rajkummar Rao), a police officer working for the Homicide Intervention Team (HIT) branch which takes on high-profile crimes. Though Vikram is adept as his job, unknown to his superior, Ajit Singh Shekhawat (Dilip Tahil), he has been suffering from PTSD due to a violent event in his past. Forcefully giving in to take a two month break to curb his constant attacks, however, Vikram rushes back to duty when his girlfriend Neha (Sanya Malhotra), a forensic expert, goes missing.

While he is promptly told to stay away due to his emotional attachment, along with his sub Rohit (Akhil Iyer), Vikram instead picks up the case of a young girl named Preeti Mathur (Rose Khan), who mysterious vanished from the Jaipur highway. With the same being Neha’s last case before her disappearance, Vikram is convinced that the two case are linked and finds himself in a race against time where everyone is suspect.

What works wonders for the film is the way a simple thriller story is presented, and we have a new suspect and conflict every 15 minutes, and that’s what keeps the screenplay engaging. Like a good whodunit, director Kolanu provides ample breadcrumbs to throw one off the scent. Sure, there is nothing extraordinary or mind-blowing in the plot of the film in fact the first half hour of the film feels disconnected as it brings into play the character’s back stories, however the way it presented keeps you engaged.

The film not just keeps you intrigued throughout, but it also provides you with a dose of laughter in between. In certain scenes, several serious social issues have also been raised. But as the real investigation begins, the film really begins to come into its own. It throws red herrings in your face, but quite subtly, and you begin to doubt every character quite soon. The anatomy of a suspense thriller is always tough to crack because continued attention is secured via characters, while suspense is created through the atmosphere and characters’ mobility within it.

But while the film evades stereotypes to a huge extent it also succumbs to it. The treatment is no-nonsense and sincere but that doesn’t translate to a nail-biting, gritty thriller. The film is more of an unhurried, meandering crime mystery with an intriguing build-up but an unrewarding payoff. With multiple suspects at play, the motive of the one guilty feels ludicrous and far-fetched.

The disappointing climax lets down the established unpredictability making the newly introduced track feel grossly misused. Plus, in the hopes of creating a franchise, like his Telugu counterpart, director Kolanu also ends this one with a cliffhanger that fails to tie up the loose ends especially those relating to Vikram’s history and trauma.

Performance wise, Rajkummar Rao leads the show. He brings out the vulnerability of the character, including his fears and hesitation and not merely his anger, which many other such portrayals focus on. Comparing him with Vishwak Sen wouldn’t be unfair because he plays exactly the same role, but Rajkummar brings his own touch to the character.

Sanya Malhotra does justice with whatever limited screen time she had. In supporting roles, Akhil Iyer, Shilpa Shukla, Dilip Tahil, Millind Gunaji, Rose Khan, Shanu Kumar, Sanjay Narvekar, and Jatin Goswami are effective. On the whole, ‘HIT-The First Case’ is a potent thriller elevated by Rajkummar Rao‘s effective performance.

Directed – 

Starring – Sanya Malhotra, Rajkummar Rao, Shanu Kumar

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 128 minutes

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