Gumraah movie review: Aditya Roy Kapur's double turn in this typical thriller is quite average
Gumraah movie review: This police procedural that follows two lookalikes in a murder case fails to excite you with its commonplace reveals and turns.
One murder, two suspects with the same face. It's a conundrum for the police to solve in Gumraah (2023), a thriller which ends up taking very predictable turns. The film begins in a chilling manner with a brutal murder of a man. The culprit is played by Aditya Roy Kapur in his first double role. Eventually, it leads up to the capture of two men for the same crime, and leaves the audience and the police trying to sort out who could be the killer. (Also read: Gumraah trailer: Aditya Roy Kapur stars as identical suspects in this intriguing murder mystery)
Gumraah, directed by Vardhan Ketkar, informs viewers from the beginning that it is 'inspired by true cases'. At the end, the film cites examples from countries like Malaysia, US, the UK, and Germany to name a few where this sort of situation has occurred. After the murder of a young techie, Mrunal Thakur's Shivani Mathur is assigned to the case. Her name seems to be a nod to Rani Mukerji's character from Mardaani (2014) perhaps. The extremely focused and no-nonsense Shivani has her early theories on the case but once her superior ACP Dhiren Yadav (Ronit Roy) gets up to date, he has the whole thing figured out.
Dhiren seems to have a previous longstanding vendetta against Arjun Sehgal (Aditya) and has already decided he's guilty. Meanwhile, the police find Sooraj Rana aka Ronnie (also Aditya) and haul him in for the same crime. With two different agendas, Dhiren and Shivani have to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth.
As is the case with most Hindi films these days, this too is a retelling of a south hit. Gumraah is a remake of the Tamil film Thadam (2019) which features Arun Vijay in a double role. But instead of focusing on the murder mystery, within 20-odd minutes of the film, it shifts into a flashback in the lives of Arjun and Sooraj, trying to explain how they got to the night of the murder. It then delves into a romance with the introduction of Janhvi (Vedika) with Arjun, while also juggling Sooraj's side track of a robbery gone wrong with his friend and sidekick Chaddi (Deepak Kalra).
The big reveal of how exactly Arjun and Sooraj are tied to one another is also underwhelming. But the film plays it for a big 'aha' moment, which doesn't work. The performances in the film are most perfunctory. There is no real standout here. Aditya separates both characters in a typical manner. One of the men is respectable, while the other is a rogue. Ronit and Mrunal's characters are also opposites in that they too have already assumed guilt of one man over the other. Their dogged beliefs in their convictions lead the second half of the film.
The crime thriller has some well-done action sequences and few unintentional laugh-out-loud moments with its dialogues, but overall, it feels like an overlong episode of a television show. The romance detour in the first half feels like a whole another film.
Gumraah won't bore you, but it won't keep you excited with what's about to occur next. It's a pattern seen lately in a lot of criminal versus law enforcement thrillers, that the police officers even with their technology and vast manpower, still remain one step behind the culprit, who has thought at least ten to twenty steps ahead. It doesn't convince audiences nearly as well if the whole plot has to be explained to the audience in a 'here's what happened' flashback.