5 Thoughts I Had While Watching Netflix’s ‘Raat Akeli Hai’ Trailer. Mainly Ki, Those Are Some Fabulously Complex Female Suspects
There’s never been a better time for OTT platforms and their audiences than right now. The sheer quantity of amazing content coming our way from across the spectrum has a movie/series buff like me squealing in glee. Just two days ago, the trailer for Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi biopic was released on Amazon Prime Video, followed by Netflix’s announcement that it was going to release 17 new titles over the next few months, including Janhvi Kapoor’s Gunjan Saxena, Anurag Basu’s Ludo, and others. On Friday, the streaming giant dropped the trailer for the whodunnit Raat Akeli Hai, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shweta Tripathi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Nishant Dahiya, Padmavati Rao, Swanand Kirkire and Aditya Srivastava.
Are you also thinking what I am thinking? Yaaaas! Netflix and its BFF Radhika Apte are reunited! And from general experience, I can tell you that these two have often created magic. Add to that a talented cast like this one, headlined by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and you can consider my expectations already set high. The trailer definitely has us raising our eyebrows at the premise, which is a murder mystery set in small town India. A politician is dead and a cop is brought in to investigate the case, where his own family members, including his wife and her alleged lover, his daughter, and others are suspects. Of course, nothing is as straightforward or easy as it appears.
Here are 5 thoughts I had while watching the trailer for Honey Trehan’s directorial debut film, Raat Akeli Hai.
1. Nawazuddin has played the gangster so many times now (Gangs of Wasseypur, Sacred Games) that we’ve been hotwired to think of him as the bad guy. I am excited to see him play a cop on the right side of the law this time, even though I have a feeling that lines will be blurred here as well. After all, he did say he’d go to any lengths to crack the case. Furthermore, the movie unites him with his Gangs of Wasseypur costar Tigmanshu Dhulia, who’s playing his superior and might be forced to suspend or fire him. How the dynamics have turned.
2. Yes, sure we are super pumped about Radhika Apte being back with her bae (Netflix), but she isn’t the only lady I’m excited to see. There’s Padmavati Rao, who we last saw in Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior as indomitable Rajmata Jijabai (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s mother). Masaan girl Shweta Tripathi, who is always a delight to watch on screen, is playing the deceased politician’s daughter. And remember Shivani Raghuvanshi, who made a mark in last year’s acclaimed Amazon Prime Video series, Made In Heaven? She’s here too, but we don’t yet know how she is related to the victim. These women are all fantastic actors.
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3. People always think women love to gossip so much that they can’t keep a secret. But it’s also a fact that nobody can keep a secret as well as a woman can. Paradoxical, I know. The trailer suggests that the women in this family are keeping a lot of secrets and definitely know more than they’re letting on. Did you see Radhika Apte’s subtle moves on the chess board in the final scene of the trailer? Or Shweta Tripathi talking cryptically about her father, and Padmavati Rao dropping hints about the possible motivations of the killer? It’s going to be quite the ride to watch a male cop try to decipher complex female characters to arrive at the killer.
This is clearly going to be like a game of chess, where you might not anticipate the checkmate. Or you might think the queen is out to get you, but you’re thwarted by an unexpected piece.
4. Radhika Apte’s scenes are by far the most impactful in the trailer, which tells me that she could either be a grieving widow or, as most people on the case think, a wife who teamed up with her lover to murder her old husband. The ‘black widow’ trope—a woman discarding a man after she’s done using him—is quite overused, so I have a feeling that the focus on Apte could be a red herring. How the writers subvert our attention from the usual suspects will make or break this movie.
5. Lately, the trend of setting movies in rural/small-town India has brought into sharp focus a lot of socio-political issues that plague the marginalised sections of our society. There’s so much oppression and repression here, it’s a psychological cesspool of criminal motives. I wonder if we’ll see some of these play out, and whether, when the killer is ultimately revealed, will we wish them punishment or sympathise with their motive?
The whodunnit genre has seen some stellar entries in the past few years, and Raat Akeli Hai reminds me a little of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (minus the humour). While Daniel Craig, Ana De Armas and Chris Evans starrer did surprise me in the end, I hope I can say the same for Raat Akeli Hai once it releases on July 31, 2020, on Netflix.
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Sharp-tongued feminist. Proud nerd. Opinions with on-point pop-culture references about films, books, your toxic BF, the patriarchy, and the Oxford comma.