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Rediff.com  » Movies » Cuttputlli Review

Cuttputlli Review

By SUKANYA VERMA
September 02, 2022 10:13 IST
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Cuttputlli's absolutely absurd climax will have you rolling on the floor in unintended laughter, notes Sukanya Verma.

If Hindi OTT has its way, Himachal will soon have to replace scenic with sinister.

After Aranyak, Mithya and Forensic arrives yet another grisly hill station mystery involving a cop in pursuit of a serial killer.

The beats of Ranjit M Tewari's Cuttputlli, a remake of Ram Kumar's Tamil thriller Ratsasan are drearily familiar -- the peace of a scenic mountain town is disrupted after discovering a brutally mutilated body of a teenage girl. But the panic waves its disturbing episodes trigger are sparsely felt in this shoddily rustled up remake.

Sleuthing police procedurals are a gripping genre by itself.

At its serviceable best also, a whodunit will pique enough curiosity to stick around until full disclosure.

Cuttputlli draws on this advantage but fails to sustain our interest.

If its growing pile of clumsy contrivances and offensive understanding of Alzheimer's and Progeria aren't regrettable enough, a staggeringly stupid third act makes a hash out of things.

 

A London-born desi, whose policeman father's dinner table conversations fuelled his fascination for homicidal maniacs, Akshay Kumar plays wannabe film-maker Arjan Sethi having a hard time getting his murder mysteries approved by the bigwigs of Punjabi show business.

'Turn this into a comedy,' one suggests.

At the constant insistence of his sister (hammy Hrishita Bhatt) and inspector brother-in-law (wasted Chandrachur Singh), he moves to Kasauli (part Mussoorie, part United Kingdom) and joins the police force instead.

Though he's 36 years old (Akshay turns 55 next week), Arjan's father died in the line of duty, which makes him eligible on compensatory grounds.

What's truly mind-boggling is how quickly he completes his training and directly assumes the rank of senior inspector. But Jijaji's influence can get him only thus far and Arjan's inexperience finds him relegated to stationery boy.

Not for too long, of course.

When body after body finds its way in forensic labs, Arjan's detective instincts sense a pattern in how the psychopath killer leaves off a trail of disfigured dolls as some kind of a memento of his dark deeds.

While one waits to get to the bottom of the crime and a clever big reveal, Cuttputlli distracts itself around Arjan's needless flirtations around a school teacher (Rakul Singh, pretty but precious little to do) raising a mute niece. If you are expecting it to evolve into a dangerous scenario like Govinda's Hatya, don't.

Arjan has a niece too, a mischief-prone teenager happy to forge her parents' signatures in report cards if need be.

As the plot trudges along, several suspects are tossed our way -- a stalker, a sexual predator, a sorcerer.

And yet, despite the mounting death count, including hastily treated personal tragedies, the stakes are shockingly low.

The focus stays on, no surprise, Akshay and Akshay alone. Not just his co-actors but even rationale takes a backseat as Akshay's Sherlock level wits, gentleman ways (tying a pregnant lady's shoelaces) and affections as uncle, beau, brother, precede everyone else's.

Expectedly, he slips out in the middle of an investigation to change into khakis and impress the heroine by shooing off her niece's bullies at school.

The other heroine too, a previously surly lady boss (Punjabi actress Sargun Mehta in huff and puff mode) changes her tune from 'baap ki kursi mili hai, araam se baith kar sek' to 'now you lead us'.

Heropanti aside, Akshay delivers a relaxed, restrained act.

Too bad there's little else to hold on to in this flimsily written thriller that forgets about Arjan's movie-making dreams faster than Raksha Bandhan left our memory.

Cuttputlli is likely to follow suit what with an absolutely absurd climax and super amateurish execution that will have you rolling on the floor in unintended laughter. Or maybe they decided to 'make this into a comedy' after all.

Cuttputlli streams on Disney+Hotstar.

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SUKANYA VERMA / Rediff.com