movie reviews

Dial 100 Movie Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta’s Edge-Of-The-Seat Thriller Lacks Edge As Well As Thrills!

Dial 100 Movie Review Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 stars2.5

Star Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Sakshi Tanwar, Neena Gupta

Director: Renzil D’Silva

Dial 100 Movie Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta’s Edge-Of-The-Seat Thriller Lacks Edge As Well As Thrills! (A Still From Movie)

What’s Good: Its visible intent of being a good brain-twister, Manoj Bajpayee’s ‘same same but different’ performance

What’s Bad: The lackadaisical transformation of various things from paper to screen

Loo Break: At 100 minutes, this won’t crave you for a ‘loo break’ but few pauses for sure

Watch or Not?: If you’ve rewatched The Family Man a couple of times but still want to witness Manoj on a new mission, go for it!

User Rating:

Manoj Bajpayee’s Nikhil Sood is Senior PI straight out of The Family Man, just with not as significant post as the Raj-DK show. He’s stressed because of the emotional turmoil at home and carries the burden with himself to his station, where he attends the emergency calls made by the public. On one not-so-fine day, Nikhil receives an unknown call from Seema Pallav (Neena Gupta), who threatens him by expressing her suicidal thoughts.

Nikhil juggles between his wife Prerna (Sakshi Tanwar) calling him to complain about his son repeating a particular unlawful act and a strange(r) woman giving him the sociopath vibes on the emergency call. As the twists unravel, Seema captures Prerna as the hostage exposing the not-so-surprising link between the three characters.

Dial 100 Movie Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta’s Edge-Of-The-Seat Thriller Lacks Edge As Well As Thrills! (A Still From Movie)

Dial 100 Movie Review: Script Analysis

Imagine The Family Man but Shrikant is demoted to being a PI, Priya Mani somehow transforms to Sakshi Tanwar, Dhriti is missing because she might have left somewhere with her new boyfriend, and Atharv is all grown up but not as smart as he was as a kid. All of these characters in a setup, not as thrilling as the show because you can sniff the twists beforehand hence hampering the thrill. Rensil D’Silva’s story has the meat but fails at evoking intrigue due to the sloppy execution of the ‘big revelation’ scenes.

There’s always a hint at what’s going to happen next, and I was right with each one of them. A scene in which Nikhil realises Seema knows him by his name is left half-baked as there should have been an immediate follow-up by a worthy officer like him. In another sequence, Nikhil is shown calling a number wanting to know who it belongs to but couldn’t because the call goes unanswered. He didn’t even try to use any free caller ID apps which are readily available on smartphones. I know that can be duped as well, but in this case, it was a personal number & he could’ve at least tried to figure it out?

The scene ends as:
“Nikhil, pata chala, kiska number tha?”
“Nahi, uthane se pehle hi cut kar diya!”

There are multiple such occasions when things get too convenient to justify the plot in the course, hampering the narrative. Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues are also a significant reason why the drama never escalates into an adrenaline rush. I totally get the point that Neena’s character is an ordinary woman & hence you can’t give her orchestrated dialogues. But giving her lines like [Mild Spoiler Ahead] “Agar tumne ne police station se bahar nikle, toh Prerna will die aur agar tumne police ko involve kiya toh bhi Prerna will die” is just outright lousy. Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s camerawork amazingly captures the tension on Manoj’s face through multiple medium & close-up face shots.

Dial 100 Movie Review: Star Performance

Manoj Bajpayee’s performance remains to be the major highlight of the film & that indeed is as predictable as the film’s twists. He takes a similar character to The Family Man, moulding it differently to prove his astronomical variation. He makes things look so easy performing even some too-dramatic scenes with utmost subtlety.

In the first 15 minutes, we can just hear Neena Gupta’s voice, and my first reaction was: “Great actors could act even through just their voice” (remembering Scarlett Johansson from Her). The problem starts with her character development. She gets icy with the treatment hindering the dialogue delivery more than once.

With the kind of talent Neena ma’am possesses, the character sketch should’ve been better. I could literally copy-paste every comment I just made on Neena ma’am’s performance to explain Sakshi Tanwar’s presence in the film.

There’s this heartbreakingly long (a little over 2 minutes) continuous scene towards the end in which Sakshi just cries her heart. That scene, in a way, summarises the whole film exposing the actor’s capability VS inefficacy of the script. Even though you can’t feel enough for Sakshi’s pain due to the weak execution, but that doesn’t rule how tormentingly beautiful she is in that scene.

A Still From Movie

Dial 100 Movie Review: Direction, Music

All the significant hiccups of the film are because of Rensil D’Silva’s not up-to-the-mark story & screenplay. A major subplot of this film reminded me of Badla & after that, I couldn’t help but compare the two, ending up disappointed over how well this could have been if treated similarly.

Raju Singh’s background score starts of well without getting much loud, but it just gets too intrusive in the latter half. Singh has been a great name composing soundtracks for too many television shows, but he fails to compliment the tension designed on-screen.

Dial 100 Movie Review: The Last Word

All said and done; Dial 100 is a thriller that brings you to the edge of the seat but doesn’t give you much to be excited about. It drives you to the point where you’d expect unpredictability but gifts you what you already might have guessed.

Two stars!

Dial 100 Trailer

Dial 100 releases on 5th August, 2021.

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