Cast: Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Neeraj Kabi, Amrita Puri, Shahana Goswami, Niki Walia, Dipannita Sharma, Shashank Arora, Prajakta Koli, Danesh Razvi, Ishika Mehra
Director: Anu Menon
Rating: 1.5 Moons
In the opening shot of Anu Menon-directed Neeyat, a character named Ashish Kapoor (Ram Kapoor) asks his personal manager Kay (Amrita Puri)- "Okay, Kay?" and the reply comes, "It's okay, AK". It's 2023 and such dialogues are strictly not OKAY! Neeyat marks Vidya Balan's return to theatres after Mission Mangal (2019) and it is a questionable choice. Teaming up with Anu after Shakuntala Devi (2020), she wears the hat of a CBI officer this time.
Neeyat is about Ashish Kapoor's 'suicide' on his birthday. He is celebrating the day with his close friends and family members including Kay, Sanjay (Neeraj Kabi), Noor (Dipannita Sharma), Zara (Niki Walia), Jimmy Mistry (Rahul Bose), Ryan Mistry (Shashank Arora), Gigi (Prajakta Koli), Lisa (Shahani Goswami), Sasha (Ishika Mehra), and castle manager Tanveer (Danesh Razvi). Mira Rao (Vidya Balan), a CBI officer, enters the picture for a reason. However, soon after, she has to solve the unexpected case of Ashish's suicide which she believes is a murder.
Set in a stunning castle, Neeyat is a dry thriller with predictable plot points and even weaker execution. It takes a lot of time to establish characters but offers little to connect with them. Like every thriller, each person has a motive behind attending Ashish's birthday celebration. The conflicts are lame. A character's only purpose in the story is to show how she lied about her age. In an era of great content, stuff like this doesn't just make you chuckle but feel bad for the actor.
The investigation in Neeyat doesn't feel like an investigation. People in the film are too casual to be taken seriously. It requires special talent to misuse actors like Neeraj Kabi who is still the best thing in the film. The staging of drama is done half-heartedly as most focus goes into making every frame look like a beautiful vintage painting. Neeyat is like a vicious circle that never comes to an end. The conversations between the suspects are lifeless and emotionless. After a point, the ending of the thriller can be sensed. It cannot be ignored that Neeyat has stereotypes floating all over. The rich brat son, Ryan, is a drug addict, friend Sanjay has malicious intentions, his wife Noor had a past with Ashish, a troubled manager Kay, and a dumb student Sasha. Have we not seen all this in the past?
The purpose behind releasing Neeyat in theatres is unclear. It is Vidya's worst. With bare minimum shock moments, it gets stale and boring pretty soon. The locations are breathtaking but if that's taken out, Neeyat will have nothing to rave about. For the audience expecting a final punch before the curtains close, you are in for a nice surprise which is the true saving grace.
Vidya Balan is a phenomenal performer and there ain't a denial. She has experimented with possibly all genres and shown what she's capable of. Jalsa is just one example of her brilliance. Neeyat doesn't justify her talent. Instead, she's unconvincing, disinterested and pale. There are barely any expressions on her face. It is the climax portion that is exciting. Ram Kapoor once again plays a rich man who is by default named Mr Kapoor. His obsession with the name is evident and it is high time he moves on. It appears his look has been modelled on Vijay Mallya. Though the film revolves around him, his character doesn't have a convincing graph.
Shashank Arora and other ensemble cast either have zero expressions on their faces or they're overacting. Niki Walia, Neeraj Kabi and Danesh Razvi are better than the rest. Rahul Bose's Jimmy Mistry is problematically stereotyped. Prajakta Koli looks pretty but nothing beyond that.
Neeyat is a failed attempt at bringing Knives Out to India. Wait for the OTT premiere only if you're a Vidya Balan fan.
PeepingMoon gives Neeyat 1.5 Moons