‘CUTTPUTLLI’ REVIEW | 2 September, 2022

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Pooja Entertainment’s Cuttputlli is a thriller and a whodunit.

Arjan Sethi (Akshay Kumar), son of a late police officer, wants to be a filmmaker. He loves to understand the psychology of serial killers and has also written a film script based on them. But when he is unable to find takers for his script, he becomes a police inspector. He moves from Chandigarh to Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh and stays with his sister, Seema Singh (Hrishitaa Bhatt), police inspector brother-in-law, Narinder Singh (Chandrachur Singh), and niece, Payal (Renaye Tejani).

As luck would have it, innocent school girls are being murdered in the same style in Kasauli. The police investigations fail. Arjan Sethi comes the closest in understanding the modus operandi of the killer but even he is not able to nab the murderer. Then, one day, Payal is kidnapped and ultimately murdered in the same style. Arjan Sethi swears revenge and ultimately nabs the culprit.

The film is a remake of Tamil film Ratsasan. The story (Ram Kumar) is routine as whodunits of this kind have been seen earlier too. Tushar Trivedi and Aseem Arora’s screenplay is fairly well written but it is slow-paced and also lacks novelty of any kind. There are some rather boring scenes like, for instance, the introduction scene of school teacher Divya (Rakul Preet Singh). Some scenes also appear too contrived to be true. An example of this is the scene in which the magician goes to Divya’s house, just before which Arjan informs Divya that he will be passing by her house and will see her for a bit. This, even though he is in the midst of a tension-ridden chase scene! Overall, the screenplay loses a good part of its thrill because of the slow pace. Aseem Arora’s dialogues are average.

Akshay Kumar does fairly well in a role which gives him absolutely no scope to surprise or shock the audience. Rakul Preet Singh doesn’t get to do much as Divya. She is okay. Sargun Mehta is alright in the role of SHO Gudiya Parmar. Chandrachur Singh (as Narinder Singh) and Hrishitaa Bhatt (as Seema Singh) lend ordinary support. Gurpreet Ghuggi is wasted in the role of Guleria. Sujith Shanker makes his mark as Purushottam Tomar teacher. Shahid Latief has his moments as Machchan. Renaye Tejani provides able support with a natural performance as Payal. Joshua Leclair is quite nice in the role of Christopher/Agnes. Jitendra Rai is natural as Arjan Sethi’s landlord-cum-friend, Rahul. Rahul Kakkar (as Srikant), Divya Wadhwa (as Aisha Khan), Suhani Sethi (as Sofia), Seher Bhowmik (as Iti), Saina Anarose (as Amrita Rana), Laaibha Dabas (as Komal), Kiran Virdee (as Amrita’s mother), Kumall Grewal (as Amrita’s father), Zafar Hashmi (as Komal’s father), Monisha Hassen (as Komal’s mother), Pradeep Sharma (as Mr. Malhotra), Ashok Narank (as Mr. Vohra), Swarnim Sethi (as Sameksha), Mitisha Arora (as Sameksha’s mother), Atul Verma (as Sameksha’s father), Adarsh Mishra (as the rickshaw driver), Rez Kempton (as DSP Ajay Shukla), Suhani Dhanki (as RJ Roshni Beniwal), Pratibha Dabas (as Dr. Kashish), Avinash Sharma (as the old uncle) and Vikas Kawa (as David) lend good support.

Ranjit M. Tewari’s direction is just about average. He is unable to create the excitement and thrill one associates with a whodunit. Music (Tanishk Bagchi for ‘Saathiya’, Dr. Zeus and Hamid Ali Naqeebi for ‘Tu dis da’, Dr. Zeus and Sukhwinder Singh for ‘Rabba’, and Aditya Dev for ‘Lapata’) is routine and more functional than anything else. Lyrics (Tanishk Bagchi, Hamid Ali Naqeebi, Omar Malik and Rashmi Virag) are nothing to shout about. Song picturisations by Ganesh Acharya (‘Saathiya’ and ‘Tu dis da’), Prince Gupta (‘Rabba’) and Ahmed Khan (music video) are okay. Julius Packiam’s background music is average. Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography is fairly nice. Action choreography (by Tim Man and Parvez Shaikh) is so-so. Production designing (by Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty) and art direction (by Pallab Chanda and Pallavi Pethkar) are of a good standard. Chandan Arora’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, Cuttputlli is a dull fare which would’ve done below-average business if it had been released in cinemas.

Released on 2-9-’22 on Disney+ Hotstar.