Raat Akeli Hai
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shweta Tripathi
Director: Honey Trehan
The gloomy insides of an ancient looking ‘haveli’, the kind with many square shaped rooms and teakwood cabinets, know a lot about its inhibitors’ past, but fortunately or unfortunately, the walls can’t speak, so the onus is on a cop named Jatil Yadav (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) to solve the murder mystery of a wealthy and powerful UP ‘Thakur’.
Casting director turned director Honey Trehan understands the facial requirements of his primary characters, and he has gotten almost all the actors absolutely spot on. This, along with the sets, especially the ‘haveli’ and adjacent areas, work well for the milieu. We witness narrow lanes with overflowing sewers, dark alleys, leather tannery and an overall sinister feeling. The small town set-up becomes tricky when there are many characters playing in parallel tracks as they can easily break the claustrophobic atmosphere the director wants to lead you into. Trehan has done this right as well.
But he does all this at such a slow pace that the viewers start looking for some action, something that can break the monotony. Blame it on the audience’s attention span, but Raat Akeli Hai seems more about the actual loneliness than the murder mystery. Maybe that was the intention, but then why lead the spectator towards something that wouldn’t hold any meaning for him in the context of storytelling.
Thanks to actors like Nawazuddin, Radhika Apte and Aditya Srivastava, Raat Akeli Hai creates the right mood, but that is more or less about it. The personal development of the characters don’t work much, or to put it differently, it doesn’t engulf your mind for long. There are many dull moments in between scenes and that hamper the flow. There is a deep lull after every crescendo and it’s quite frequent.
Though Siddiqui and Apte try their best to make Raat Akeli Hai a layered storytelling, it lacks the earnestness of good suspense thrillers. Shivani Raghuvanshi deserves a special mention here. She has been excelling and adding immense value to her characters, and she has done it once again in Raat Akeli Hai.
With nearly 150-minute duration, Netflix's Raat Akeli Hai is not as effective as it could have been with similar resources.