Cast: Akshay Kumar, Rakul Preet Singh, Sargun Mehta, Chandrachur Singh, Hrishitaa Bhatt
Director: Ranjit M Tewari
OTT Platform: Disney+Hotstar
Rating: 3.5 Moons
Akshay Kumar has been on a roll ever since the pandemic rules were relaxed. With a vow to entertain his audience who were waiting for the longest period to watch his films, the superstar is back on the screen, albeit taking the OTT route this time. Akshay is headlining Pooja Entertainment’s latest film titled Cuttputlli. The official Hindi remake of the 2018 Tamil film Ratsasan has released on Disney+Hotstar.
Cuttputlli, which means puppet in Hindi, is primarily set in the magnificent and serene hill station of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. It revolves around Arjan Sethi (Akshay Kumar), an aspiring filmmaker who is desperate to direct a film based on serial killers. Thanks to his upbringing, he is fascinated with the world of criminals; not with their crimes, but their psychology. The route to fulfill his dream isn’t a bed of roses. After facing multiple rejections, his brother-in-law Narinder Singh (Chandrachur Singh) encourages him to join the police.
Despite not being willing to choose the path suggested by Narinder, Arjan is forced to make a career in the force. He is then appointed as a sub-inspector and his SHO is a tough lady named Gudiya Parmar (Sargun Mehta). The biggest case handled by the Himachal Pradesh police is of serial killings of teenage girls. Although he had a failed attempt at making a film based on serial killings, Arjan volunteers to be a part of the investigation. Putting his research and understanding of crime to good use, he draws a pattern connecting all the murders that took place in Kasauli and its neighbouring areas. Amid his investigation, Arjan meets Divya (Rakul Preet Singh), a teacher at his niece’s school.
The remake of Ratsasan, Cuttputlli, which happens to be director Ranjit M Tewari’s second directorial after BellBottom, seems outdated not just on the surface but on the interiors too. In the quest to make it a faithful remake, Ranjit tests the audience’s sensibilities and makes the expected twists and turns in the initial stages. It is the last 15-20 minutes that will grab your attention. In addition to the already outdated story are the ghisa-pita Bollywood-style melodramatic dialogues. One also cannot miss how randomly and unconvincingly songs like Saathiya have been placed. It does slow down the narrative flow.
Having said that, Cuttputlli has its moments especially when Akshay’s action skills are put to use in the best possible way. The climax fight scene is something that can be lauded. That too only because of the actor’s conviction in stunts.
The story is clearly lifted on the able shoulders of Akshay. He yet again proves why he is topping every filmmaker’s list. While action is certainly his forte, Akshay’s on-screen presence in Cuttputlli is soothing. He has the magnetic powers to pull you into his story.
Rakul Preet gets barely any meat to bite onto but she does try to give her best to an otherwise undercooked character. Chandrachur is back after Aarya and how much we missed him. Alas, in a film like Cuttputlli, his craft is underexplored. Sargun is possibly the only supportive actress who stands out. She is brilliant as a tough cop. Hrishitaa is a delight but her dialogues are too '90s style.
Given the fact that thrillers have the potential to shock you, Cuttputlli leaves you rather cold. Even the mystic hills of Kasauli are not used to 100% for creating an eerie atmosphere to build tension when required. The film had the scope to shake your foundation but it was left just a few steps before the finish mark. Come into the world of Cuttputlli for thrills, but stay back for Akshay Kumar.
PeepingMoon gives Cuttputlli 3.5 Moons