'Halahal' movie review: A sharp but charmless mystery thriller

Written by Zeishan Quadri and directed by Randeep Jha, Halahal concerns itself with the medical entrance fraud in North India.

Published: 22nd September 2020 09:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2020 09:45 AM   |  A+A-

A still from movie 'Halahal'.

Express News Service

Halahal is a mystery where you know a lot. You know, for instance, who died and when. You have a pretty good hunch why—though the sand keeps shifting on that front. The opening sequence, shot without pretence or subterfuge, tells you ‘how’. The killers, though gradually emerging, aren’t that hard to pin down. What’s left then is our need for cohesion, the seductive and ultimate way each part will fit in together.

Dr Shiv Sharma (Sachin Khedekar) is informed of his daughter’s untimely demise. A body was found along the Ghaziabad highway, battered and charred. Almost instantly, the police declare her a suicide, though the autopsy report isn’t in. Shiv stays on, mournful and suspicious, wanting to know more. Perhaps it’s his expertise that keeps him on: Archana, his daughter, was a medical student helping young aspirants crack MBBS seats.

Shiv suspects her college and an allied coaching institute to be linked to her death. Written by Zeishan Quadri and directed by Randeep Jha, Halahal concerns itself with the medical entrance fraud in North India. A direct point-of-reference would be the 2013 Vyapam scam, wherein dozens of politicians and racketeers were arrested for sending imposters into exam halls. The widespread investigation prompted shocking casualties, including ‘unnatural deaths’ of students, journalists, and witnesses. Halahal distils this chaos in a simple scene: a police officer walking in on slain bodies in a field, looking mildly flummoxed, and walking off.

The cop is played by Barun Sobti, who joins Dr Shiv on his quest, though they are far from the physician-sleuth combo we’ve come to expect. Yusuf is a bit of a hog: he’ll swing whichever way the money is flowing. In a city where life comes cheap, how much is a father’s trust worth?Randeep shows great skill for the terrain, but the rest of the film is flatly devoid of charm, though Sachin Khedekar, with his compelling mix of dread and grief and resolve, keeps it going.

Film: Halahal 
Directed by: Randeep Jha
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Barun Sobti
Streaming on: Eros Now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp