Diriliş: Ertuğrul is a hard one to top but Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Raat Akeli Hai managed to do that and has been trending at number one on Netflix Pakistan since the past ten days. Hollywood’s recent teenage rom-com The Kissing Booth 2 has also proven to be popular among the Pakistani audiences and has been trending since it released on July 24. To be honest, The Kissing Booth 2 was a welcome addition to the top 10 list which apart from Diriliş: Ertuğrul usually features dark or erotic (read: 365 Days) movies.
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte, Raat Akeli Hai is a murder mystery which revolves around the murder of a rich landlord on the night of his wedding. It appears that post the success of Sacred Games, Bollywood has found a new genre to explore – crime and the corrupt police system of India. Many recent films and series have centred on this theme, for example, Malang, Pataal Lok, The Family Man.
While Radhika plays the dead man’s newlywed wife Radha and the prime suspect, Siddiqui plays the police officer who is investigating the case. The plot and story of the film are unoriginal and something we’ve seen many times before in Hollywood and Bollywood films (Most movie critics and some members of the audience have also compared it to Knives Out). All through the film, I found several references to Amazon Prime’s Pataal Lok and Sonakshi Sinha-Sidharth Malhotra’s Ittefaq.
However, what makes the film worth a watch is the brilliant execution, performances and cinematography. Nawazuddin, as always, delivered a stellar performance as the cop investigating the case. Apte also gave a good performance as did the supporting cast of the film including Shweta Tripathi as Karuna Singh, Nishant Dahiya as Vikram Singh and Aditya Srivastava as Munna Raja. The chemistry between Nawazuddin and Radhika was crackling but it was let down by the weak development of the script and was not explored properly.
Moreso, given that the film can be classified as a whodunnit (a complex, plot-driven variety of the detective story in which the puzzle regarding who committed the crime is the main focus), it makes a fun one-time watch as you keep trying to figure out who the killer is. Be prepared for a slow first-half and a confusing but relatively fast-paced second half – the last 20 minutes of the movie are the most engaging and hold your attention.
Teen rom-com The Kissing Booth 2 is the exact opposite of Raat Akeli Hai. It is a light-hearted film which doesn’t demand much, though I do wish it demanded less time. While the film was a big hit and the makers have already announced that the film has a third part which has already been filmed and is currently in the post-processing stage, the film is nothing out of the ordinary. It is a typical rom-com featuring two teenagers who are trying to figure out a long-distance relationship and the deal with the baggage that comes with it. It can test your patience at a few instances especially when Elle tries to avoid being a clingy girlfriend but mostly it’ll have you rolling your eyes at the cliches. The makers have also weaved in several subplots, creating a bit of a jumble.
The performances were also not something to speak off. Joey King who plays Elle and Jacob Elordi who plays Noah were dull and had limited expressions. Noah, in particular, seemed to have a poker face throughout the film. The only person who truly demonstrated his acting abilities was Taylor Zakhar Perez who plays Marco.
If you’re a fan of sappy, teenage rom-coms, give this a watch. Else feel free to skip it and leave it for the teens.