The summer vacations are finally here and so is the array of film releases which tend to redeem it during the holidays. Considering the scorching heat outside, one always feels safe and undisturbed sitting indoors and playing games like whodunit detective games or reading mysterious novels.
This week's release SAMRAT & CO, touted to be a mysterious whodunit thriller, seems to be a story plot just out of the storybooks. The film comes from the stable of Rajshri Productions Pvt Ltd, the same people who gave us the all time musical smash hits cum family dramas like MAINE PYAAR KIYA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN, VIVAH etc. Does the movie live upto its promise of offering the viewers a 'dilchasp rahasya ride', and whether the Rajshris are able to live upto the audiences'' expectations, let's analyze.
The film starts off with the 'seventh sensed' STD aka Samrat Tilakdhari (played by Rajeev Khandelwal) and his part time-sidekick-cum-part time TV host CD aka Chakradhaari (Gopal Dutt) receiving a phone call from Dimpy Singh (Madalsa Sharma) seeking help to solve a strange case of their garden fading for no reason and also the sudden deteriorating health of her father Mahendra Pratap Singh (Girish Karnad). Despite the initial hesitations, Samrat and Chakradhaari finally make it to the palatial estate of Mahendra Pratap Singh. Right from the time they gain an entry into the mansion, they find the situations getting embroiled into one mystery after the other. As time begins to progress, they witness the murder of Girish Karnad under mysterious circumstances. Even while they go all out to solve this murder mystery, two more murders take place in quick succession, which further thickens the plot. How 'Samrat & Co' trail after the murders and nail the culprit is what which forms the rest of the story.
Director Kaushik Ghatak, who had earlier directed EK VIVAAH AISA BHI, fails to live upto the expectations' of being a 'Rajshri director'. Right from the time the film starts till the last frame of the film, the viewer is subjected to a roller coaster ride of their patience, courtesy the poor direction. Where on earth will one find a reputed and famous detective (whose success stories are published in leading newspapers), utter limericks in almost every second line of his conversation! Even though the director has infused multitude of characters in order to create confusion (read 'mystery') in the minds of the viewers, he fails miserably in establishing their individual identities. Many of the side actors land up looking like mere props in the film. As far as the film's cast is concerned, Rajeev Khandelwal, who is best known for his choice of unconventional roles, seems to be a bit out of place in this character. One cannot totally blame him for this as he only delivered what must have been told to him. Despite a convincing screen presence, what really brings down his character is the fact that he gets involved in a lot of creative wordplay, which once formed the USP of films like KYA SUPERKOOL HAIN HUM and likes. Adding more to the irritation is Chakradhaari (Gopal Dutt) and his constant hammering of "That's the point", which, after a certain point, gets translated into a migraine. Madalasa Sharma contributes her bit to the film in the form of beauty and grace, even though the film doesn't offer her a platform to exhibit her acting potentials. While a special mention to Bhaumik Sampat (Inspector Khalid) for playing his role with conviction, the other actors who feature in this film include the veteran actor Girish Karnad, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Indraneil Sengupta, and Barkha Bishit Sengupta, Shreya Narayan, Ravi Jhankal and Puja Gupta.
While the screenplay writers of this film (Kaushik Ghatak, Manish Srivastav) seems to have done a sloppy job, which otherwise could have turned the film into a watchable affair. The dialogue writer (Sanjay Masoom) does a 'creatively decent' job with his words. While the editor Nipun Gupta seemed to know what was expected of him, delivers his goods intact. But, the same cannot be said about the action (Kaushal and Moses), which is a letdown. What one fails to understand why would the hero and the villain get into a 'question and answer session' while fighting with each other! As far as the music is concerned (Ankit Tiwari) despite the inclusion of an item number, the film offers no memorable song which you can hum on your way back home. The only saving grace/ salvation/ redemption of the film seems to be Sandeep Shirodkar's background music that keeps the film at its pace.
All in all, SAMRAT AND CO is a major letdown, certain elements notwithstanding.