Neeyat movie review: the whodunnit starring Vidya Balan gets too smart and ends up being too much
What: Neeyat – the touted return of Vidya Balan in theatres after four years of hiatus is a whodunnit murder mystery by the Shakuntala Devi fame Anu Menon that tries to be too smart and ends up being too much.
Neeyat movie synopsis
Exiled billionaire Ashish Kapoor (Ram Kapoor) throws a birthday party at his lavish Scotland mansion. A mysterious murder takes place at the night of the birthday party. Detective Mira Rao (Vidya Balan) present at the party as Ashish Kapoor’s special guest must use all her skills to unravel devious motives as the suspects are Ashish Kapoor's close family and friends. The guest list includes Ashish Kapoor’s brother-in-law Jimmy Mistry (Rahul Bose). Friend Noor Suri (Dipannita Sharma) and her husband Sanjay Suri (Neeraj Kabi), son Rayan Kapoor (Shashank Arora), girlfriend Lisa (Shahana Goswami), personal secretary Kay Patel (Amrita Puri), Rayan’s girlfriend Gigi (Prajakta Koli) and Ashish’s most trusted family friend Zara (Niki Aneja).
First of all, Neeyat is not Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, there are similar movies were close family and friends gather for a party/get together at a gorgeous location and a murder happens.
The reunion of Vidya Balan with Anu Menon after the brilliant Shakuntala Devi gets flashier and much fancier in its tribute to Agatha Christie’s closed-door British murder mysteries and also does a fillip – the secret detective of Kahani Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) comes out in open as a CBI officer who as an Agatha Christie’s sleuth sniffs around the suspects, reads minds, smells the medicines and smoothly figures out the mystery without smoking a pipe or chewing any apple.
The biopic on Shakuntala Devi by Annu Menon was a smash hit on OTT and that must have tempted Prime Video to collaborate with Annu again also considering her contribution in the solid British spy thriller series Killing Eve.
Neeyat (intention) as a whodunit is fine as far as its intent is concerned. The purpose might be to be more than just a whodunit and add layers and aim for something bigger.
So, you have an over-the-top party CEO Jimmy Mistry (Rahul Bose) in those colourful outfit and socks trying to shock us with his over-the-top acting chops and ends up as a caricature. An astrologer and card reader Zara (Niki Aneja) who talks in philosophical language.
A doctor who has lost his license Sanjay Suri (Neeraj Kabi) and adores his beautiful wife Noor Suri (Dipannita Sharma) who in fact is a good friend of Ashish Kapoor. A junkie son Rayan Kapoor (Shashank Arora). girlfriend Lisa (Shahana Goswami) who survives on Ashish Kapoor’s generosity and gifts. personal secretary Kay Patel (Amrita Puri) who secretly admires Ashish Kapoor. Rayan’s girlfriend Gigi (Prajakta Koli) seems to be the only character that seems to be grounded. Plus, there are two more teenagers – son of Suri’s - the film making student and the high school student - daughter of Lisa.
Detective Mira Rao (Vidya Balan) is a misfit amongst these weird characters.
The characterization in Neeyat is too filmy and obvious and the same can be said about the narration through most of the times.
The plot fails to find layers and the issue of people like Ashish Kapoor making a mockery of the banking system and loan laws fails to gets deep and ends up just as a scratch work.
On top of it, it seems the makers of Neeyat are proud of what they but actually it’s a payoff that is more shrug than shock.
Still, it’s a great mystery for those frogs whose world is confined to that well and for those as well who have never before seen an onscreen murder.
Vidya Balan as CBI officer Mira Rao is fabulous as ever. But it’s not that sweeping as her previous outings.
Ram Kapoor as Ashish Kapoor is in his character.
Rahul Bose as Jimmy Mistry is OTT.
Dipannita Sharma as Noor Suri is fine.
Shashank Arora as Rayan Kapoor is good.
Shahana Goswami as Lisa has her moments.
Neeraj Kabi as Sanjay Suri is marvelous and has shades.
Amrita Puri as Kay Patel is good.
Prajakta Koli as Gigi leaves her mark.
Niki Aneja Walia as Zara is fantastic.
Danesh Razvi as Tanveer is remarkable.
Technically much better, full marks to cinematographer Andreas Neo’s exceptional camerawork. Adam Moss editing is fine. Music by Mickey McCleary maintains the atmosphere.
Neeyat - Final words
Neeyat (intention) – the Hasrat (ambition) of a gripping whodunnit gets spoiled by this strange fitrat (attitude) to get too smart and progressive.