Gumraah (2023) Review!!

Synopsis – The murder investigation of a young man , takes an unexpected turn when the cops discover that the prime suspect has a lookalike.

My Take – Yet another week, yet another remake! Just last week saw the Ajay Devgn directed Bholaa, a remake of Lokesh Kanagaraj’s 2019 Tamil blockbuster Kaithi, hit the screens, and though the film is performing decently, the previous weeks saw massive box office disappointments in the form of the Kartik Aaryan starrer Shehzada, a remake of Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (2020), and the Akshay Kumar-Emraan Hashmi starring Selfiee, a remake of Driving License (2019).

The latest to join the commercial disappointment list (at least according to its opening), is this Vardhan Ketkar directorial, a remake of the 2019 Tamil film Thadam. But, that doesn’t necessarily makes it a bad film.

Though Hindi cinema has well explored the concept of identical twins in various films before, however here, writer Aseem Arora (adapting from Magizh Thirumeni‘s script) manages to bring in a fresh perspective in the form of a murder mystery, that itself is inspired by true cases involving two identical twins leaving investigating officers confounded.

A compelling crime drama needs to have effective twists and drama to work and connect, luckily, this one has ample that unfold interestingly throughout the narrative, as Vardhan Ketkar’s directorial venture skillfully engages you right from the opening scene.

Yes, being a remake the film doesn’t change much plot-wise or narrative-wise, yet, the suspense does one keep intrigued, especially if you have no idea at all about the contents of the original film.

Plus, it’s a delight watching Aditya Roy Kapur, a considerably underrated actor play two starkly different characters that stand out on their own.

Beginning on a dark and stormy night, the story sees a man in a yellow raincoat enter a bungalow in an upmarket Delhi neighborhood, stab its resident with a screwdriver following a brief struggle, and escape away.

The next day follows Inspector Shivani Mathur (Mrunal Thakur), who is battling not-so-subtle sexism from her male peers, as she struggles to gather any form of clue to identify the killer. And ends up catching a lucky break when the killer’s face is caught on a neighbor’s selfie. A face identified by her boss, ACP Dhiren Yadav (Ronit Roy).

However, the arrested man, Arjun Sehgal (Aditya Roy Kapur), a civil engineer with an IIT degree and a flourishing career, with whom Yadav shares a vindictive past, denies any involvement. But with his alibi also not quite holding up, Shivani and Yadav are confident of this being an open-and-shut case. That is until, Sooraj ‘Ronnie” Rana (Aditya Roy Kapur), a drunk conman and a lookalike of Arjun is brought in.

Both Arjun and Sooraj aren’t aware of each other while they are subjected to third-degree treatment in adjoining rooms in the police station, but since both refuse to confess, the investigation comes under the danger of being derailed.

The film wends its way through a flurry of twists and turns that obviously cannot be spelt out without giving away too much. The film explores the dichotomy between the mundane world of corporate life and the exciting world of a con artist, while also weaving in a romantic story-line with a pinch of humor. Writers Aseem Arora and Magizh Thirumeni’s screenplay and Ketkar’s taut direction ensure the story moves along quickly for most part, even when the narrative goes into flashbacks.

It does lose some pace intermittently, in the first part mainly as the story builds up, but there are twists waiting to pick things up again. Yes, this one is a much better film in the second-half. There is much more to it than just the plain interrogation in police custody, there is an inter-caste marriage angle and an ACP trying to frame one of the characters for personal revenge.

The film does not use tropes of double role fares, in that, it does not overdo the mistaken identity conundrum. Despite being a straightforward story, the plot twists are engrossing, and the story becomes better with a refreshing backstory.

Performance wise, Aditya Roy Kapur gives his best as both Ronnie and Arjun and manages to convenience and confuse the audience between the two. Given his dual role, Kapur is inevitably in every scene and makes most of the opportunity. Mrunal Thakur manages to leave a mark as a smart and diligent cop, while Ronit Roy as it his conniving best.

Vedika Pinto performs well despite a limited screen time. Deepak Kalra evokes the best laughter with his perfect comic timing. He and Aditya bring comic relief in an otherwise serious mystery-thriller. On the whole, ‘Gumraah’ is a fun mystery thriller anchored by Aditya Roy Kapur’s effortless and meticulous double act.

Directed –

Starring – Aditya Roy Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur, Ronit Roy

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 129 minutes

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