Set against the serial killings that terrorised the pavement dwellers of Mumbai in 1983, the film is a neat little thriller which actually keeps you glued to your seats.

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There’s not much to do in the seedy little police station in suburban Mumbai for rival cops Kay Kay Menon and Arbaaz Khan, other than break the bones of pathetic pick pockets and small time hoodlums. So, while Kay Kay kicks and pummels sundry addicts and alcoholics, Arbaaz sniggers and stuffs himself with light snacks. Until the Stoneman arrives. A hapless man is bludgeoned to death in his sleep by a stone and has his blood is splattered all around him. Kay Kay feels a kind of meaningfulness in his crappy cop-life and readies himself for some real excitement. However, the problem is that he has been suspended from the force for his brutal exploits. But our die hard hero convinces his boss (Vikram Gokhale) to let him resolve the case `unofficially’ and promises results; same old ‘once a cop always a cop’ cheesy-ness.

End result? The beginning of a snazzy chase where our hero patrols the sleepy streets of Mumbai by night, and always ends up one step behind the mysterious killer who strikes every Tuesday and Saturday, post midnight. Interestingly, the cop relies on his own string of informers — addicts, beggars, vagrants — for classified information, and displays a perfect professional bonding with the down and outs who are ready to spill the beans for a smoke. Of course, he has a bit of help from the department too, in the form of the lowly beat constable (Virendra Saxena), who has his own personal problems. And when that doesn’t work, the cop tries something out of the box, watch that in the movie.

Writer-director Manish Gupta does a good job in telling the story, which has a very realistic touch, but I’ll put that credit mostly to the actors rather than the screenplay. Despite being a murder mystery, Gupta avoids gore and bloodshed, and that is not much appealing to me. Gore is important when the story itself is gory. Gore can be an aesthetic if handled aesthetically. The cinematography of the movie is quite good. Glimpses of urban study can be seen. How an area turns creepy under the shady gloom of sodium vapour lamp can be seen in the movie. Cinematographer turned Mumbai and its alleys sinister, to boast some high-tension night time moments.

Music usually plays an important factor in thrillers, the background score is intense and urban sounds were also used as background. The item number, however, was not at all necessary.

The film has an ample thrill quotient with the shadowy frame of the stoneman flitting across on one hand, and the police department, specially Arbaaz, holding the renegade cop, Kay Kay, as the prime suspect, on the other, once again But the real lure is Kay Kay’s full bodied portrayal of the trigger-happy cop who is wedded to his duty, yet doesn’t mind a bit of black money. There should never be much room left for breathing space, in order to make an intense thriller. Even if it is used, writer must keep in mind that the parallel layer of story goes in line with the main theme. Hence, the family life of the protagonist is a weak link of this film. Writer could have been done better.

Finally, it must be said that the movie is about an event which is still unsolved. My prime interest was to see what conclusion the director-writer derive from that and I have to say I am impressed. The ending is unexpected and worth watching till conclusion and may not have been done better.

Saayak Santra

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