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Nail Polish Movie Review: Desi 'Psycho' Adaptation Has Its Own Moments

'Nail Polish' poster

'Nail Polish' poster

'Nail Polish' is inspired, in parts, by 'Psycho' but relies on sincere performances to drive home the narrative.


Devasheesh Pandey

Nail Polish

Cast: Arjun Rampal, Manav Kaul, Anand Tiwari, Rajit Kapur

Director: Bugs Bhargava Krishna

It isn't possible to miss the direct reference to Psycho (1960) in the latest ZEE5 film Nail Polish. In fact, the closing shot is a nod to it. Despite getting inspired by one or more thrillers preceding it, Nail Polish has its own elements that drive home the narrative and make it a decent watch for crime film lovers.

Sidharth Jaisingh (Arjun Rampal) does the devil's advocacy when he is tasked with defending an unassuming Veer Singh (Manav Kaul), suspected of sexually assaulting and killing migrant children. But the grim tone of this drama is set long before the set-up when it is conveyed through the title roll that Nail Polish is inspired by true events and involves missing children. This evokes empathy and interest in equal measures.

Now, the state wants its track record clean and hires counsel Amit Kumar (Anand Tiwari) to make sure Veer is indicted of the crime. The rest of the story involves Sidharth and Amit fighting out the case to a logical conclusion.

But this is only a part of it. The Psycho angle comes in when Veer is beaten up by prisoners during his incarceration. He is shown to have suffered severe trauma after the incident, which gives rise to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Veer becomes Charu Raina, a 30-something woman. Honestly, you'll have to wait for this hook to come in as it is reserved for the later half of the movie.

Sincere performances by Arjun, Anand and Rajit Kapur, who plays Judge Bhushan, set up the courtroom scenes well initially getting us prepped for the big twist. Both Arjun and Anand give us distinct personalities from a similar profession and we enjoy their give-and-take thoroughly.

The later half is reserved for Manav to shine. While he is subdued as Veer and even showers us with hints of his guilt or innocence, it is hard to see the truth behind his piercing eyes. This gets us invested in the story even more. As for his other personality Charu, he is convincing and catches our attention at each moment. Rest of the film relies on good editing and honest storytelling.

In the final courtroom scene, Arjun, Anand and Rajit are tested with long takes and they do not disappoint. They seem as perplexed by the situation they are caught in as us and that heightens the drama quotient.

Nail Polish can be enjoyed for various reasons, but most of all for its gentle salute to the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock.

Rating: 3/5

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