When I hear the song Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast, it somewhere takes me to those childhood memories of watching it on Doordarshan. To see the hero of that song play a 36-year-old police officer on screen in the new Disneyplus Hotstar film, Cuttputlli, is definitely a difficult thing. And it becomes even more difficult to digest when you know that in the original (Ratsasan), Vishnu Vishal played his age. After copying pretty much everything from the original (not a bad thing when you are presenting it to a new audience), Ranjit M Tewari decided to trim down a significant track that somewhere made all of us forgive Ratsasan for its shortcomings.
Arjan Sethi is a wannabe filmmaker who has tried a lot to become a filmmaker. After frequent setbacks, he finally decided to take up the police job, which he was hesitant to do initially. But as soon as he joins the force, a series of murders of innocent school-going girls happens in the city. The information Arjan has about serial killers as part of his efforts to make a film helps him understand the pattern in these killings, and how he finds the culprit is what we see in Cuttputlli.
If you ask anyone who has seen Ratsasan, the one thing that they will list out as the catchy element of the movie is the antagonist. When Vishnu Vishal tracks the character, he visits an old police officer from whom he gets a lot of vital information. When it comes to Cuttputlli, they have mercilessly reduced the intricacy of the script in unveiling the villain, and guess what? Their psycho killer talks in the filmiest way, and he narrates his whole story so fast that it can be a reel on social media. In Ratsasan, the romantic track was happening in the backdrop of the investigation, but here, you have the movie slipping into music video mode to show us the romance.
Akshay Kumar tries his earnest best to be Arjan Sethi. But frankly, you don’t really sense any helplessness in the portrayal of that character. A share of that blame should be given to the script that failed miserably to identify what helped the original in being gripping. Amala Paul’s character may not have ample screen time in Ratsasan, but the writing never made that character look like an accessory. Here with all the pickup lines and song and dance, that character played by Rakul Preet Singh is reduced to a typical eye candy heroine. Chandrachur Singh as the brother-in-law of Arjan, was good. Hrishitaa Bhatt played the role of Arjan’s sister. Sargun Mehta, as the rough SHO, was okay, and unlike the original, she is hardly a hurdle for Arjan.
Cuttputlli clearly looks like a case where the filmmaker failed to realize the core of the original material. Establishing the serial killer was not what made Ratsasan unique. It was actually the struggle to confront the antagonist after identifying him and also understanding the motive of his killings. The way those aspects have been neglected in the third act of Cuttputlli takes the movie into a mediocre space in a very short time. Akshay Kumar helping a pregnant woman tie her shoelace is placed for a purpose, and the way SHO backs Arjan in getting out of suspension, etc., are the tweaks they have made to the original, and it felt pretty corny. The match cuts when Arjan was trying to save the girl from the house of the antagonist were very effective.
Seeing a 56-year-old Akshay Kumar call a 41-year-old Hrishitaa Bhatt “Deedi” was more horrible than the murders that were happening on screen. Even if you are someone who has no knowledge about Ratsasan, you will feel that the third act of this movie was a mess. It was almost like they ran out of Akshay Kumar’s dates and decided to chop off scenes that were more important than those runway shots that you see in those songs.
Seeing a 56-year-old Akshay Kumar call a 41-year-old Hrishitaa Bhatt "Deedi" was more horrible than the murders that were happening on screen.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended