'Mystery is when the spectator knows less than the characters in the movie. Suspense is when the spectator knows more than the characters,' Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock proclaimed once.
This way or that, whodunits are one of the most thrilling genres of cinema.
Who knows this better than Bollywood given its keen interest in keeping the viewers on the edge-of-their-seats since time immemorial?
Akshay Kumar's latest release Cuttputlli sees him as a cop investigating a school girl serial killer.
While Cuttputlli may not be the best in the genre, Sukanya Verma lists the ones that are.
A look at the 10 best Bollywood mystery movies of the decade:
While watching the French short film, L'Accordeur, film-maker Sriram Raghavan was struck by a brainwave to weave a plot around a 'blind' pianist witnessing a murder of a yesteryear star.
What follows is murkier than your wildest dreams. Just when you think things cannot get any more wicked, they do and how.
From our review: Sriram Raghavan toys with our judgement, shames our sleuthing instincts, challenges us to second guess and laughs when we miserably fail. Intellectual humiliation was never this enjoyable.
Meghna Gulzar comes into her own as a film-maker, shrewdly, thoroughly examining the high-profile Aarushi Talwar murder case, to mull over the obvious and concealed against a stunning Irrfan Khan's insightful investigation in Talvar.
From our review: A tightly-coiled procedural made with such dryness that it seems, in parts, documentarian -- resembling a re-enactment more than a feature film -- Talvar is one of those rare films that remains constantly aware of what it is doing and what buttons it is pushing.
A pregnant woman arrives in the City of Joy looking for her missing husband. Both the culturally vibrant city and its anxious guest form the restless focus of Sujoy Ghosh's volatile and gripping mystery high on Vidya Balan's tenacious turn and pop-culture favourite, Bob Biswas.
From our review: There is more than meets the eye and that's the beauty of this film. It treats deceit like a heartbeat on which it throbs and thrills.
Few tread the path of darkness like Anurag Kashyap can. In Ugly, he reveals the boldness in his craft as unflinchingly as his exploration of human depravity after a struggling actor's 10-year-old daughter goes missing ensuing in bitter blame games and unsettling truths.
From our review: A constantly riveting, ticking time bomb of a film.
Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
A cop traumatised by a personal tragedy, his wife's desperate attempts for closure, the curious case of an actor dying in a road accident, a enigmatic sex worker with unusual insight -- all find unlikely connection in Reema Kagti's wistfully crafted Talaash, which is as much about loss and letting go as it is a compelling police procedural. But by prioritising soul over the usual tropes of the suspense genre, she makes the experience hauntingly heart-breaking.
From our review: Talaash is a riveting combination of sentiment and suspense.
Raat Akeli Hai
Nawazuddin Siddiqui comfortably slips under the skin of an idiosyncratic policeman probing into the murder of a newly married aged patriarch resulting in delicious insights and devious findings.
From our review: It's like Agatha Christie walked into Roman Polanski's Chinatown conversing in Vishal Bhardwaj with a smattering of Brian De Palma for razzle-dazzle -- the upshot is mesmeric.
Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu's intense exchange as a lawyer and accused engaged in a game of cat and mouse is part of Badla's enduring pleasure. Sujoy Ghosh shows off his flair for mysteries yet again in this remake of the Spanish flick, The Invisible Guest.
From our review: Badla wears the air of a cold, civil, old-fashioned whodunit, which treats its premise like an insidious game and characters with suspicion.
Remakes are best when they retain the original's essence but speak in their own unique voice. Akshaye Khanna-Sonakshi Sinha-Sidharth Malhotra's version of Yash Chopra's iconic Ittefaq accomplishes this goal effectively in its effort to solve the truth behind a tale of two murders, two suspects and tons of deceit.
From our review: Ittefaq has fast, incisive cutting, an anxious, edgy style and, most importantly, Chopra has a humour about the whole thing
The family that covers up a crime together stays together. And Jeethu Joseph's acclaimed Malayalam mystery, no matter how many remakes it spawns, never fails to make that point. The favourable response to its Bollywood remake, directed by Nishikant Kamat and powered by Ajay Devgn and Tabu's face-offs, is a case in point.
From our review: Drishyam is watchable and even builds tension effectively from time to time.
In Anurag Kashyap's official remake of the sinister Spanish suspense Mirage, Taapsee Pannu finds herself as an unlikely rescuer of a crime in the middle of a time travel. Its energetic, entertaining rhythm and Taapsee's superlative performance are reason enough to root.
From our review: You keep guessing what's going to happen next, but the end result is always something else, something interesting.