A slick thriller with gripping narrative
Films inspired by true events are like a tight rope walk and any wrong move in developing the story or presenting it on the screen will prove disastrous as there will be a lot of expectations on such projects. Halahal, an Eros Now original film is a sincere attempt based on the infamous ‘Vyapam’ scam of Madhya Pradesh involving admissions of students in professional courses.
Archana, a young medical student gets killed and police close down the case declaring it as a suicide. But the father of Archana, Dr Shiv Shankar Sharma (Sachin Khedekar) does not believe the version of police and deems it to be a murder.
Dr Shiv Sharma who could not get the support of the police meets Yusuf (Barun Sobti), the most corrupted cop who likes to earn money the wrong way. Though he is corrupt he is big at heart and as a result, he gets connected to Dr Sharma in finding the truth behind the killing of Archana.
Yusuf and Dr Shiv start gathering the clues that led to the killing of Archana and as things get unfolded they came across a huge scam involving admissions in the medical college where Archana was studying. The role of many big wigs from top to bottom gets exposed after a series of baffling twists and turns following the investigation by Dr Shiv and Yusuf.
Both Sachin and Barun are the perfect choice for Halahal. They both have steered this film with grace and dignity. The swag displayed by Barun and his dialogue delivery are simply awesome. Sachin too has given out a matured performance as a father in search of truth behind the death of his daughter who eventually gets consumed by the system.
Other actors, Purnendu Bhattacharya as Acharya, Tilak Raj Joshi as Subhash, and Vijay Kumar Dogra as Manoj have chipped in with splendid performances.
Direction & Technical Aspects
Writers Gibran Noorani and Zeishan Qaudri should get full credit for weaving an interesting tale around a true story involving one of the biggest scams in the country.
Randeep Jha has effectively navigated the narrative in a gripping manner without getting distracted from the essence of the main story. The final shot where the camera zooms on a newspaper with the heading ‘Sand mafia kills another cop’ followed by the long shot of Barun on his two-wheeler sums up his creative brilliance.
The modus operandi of the scam could have been presented more vividly in the form of a short flashback episode showing the involvement of Archana and her companions for adding more authenticity to the story. This is the only drawback in this otherwise slick narrative.
Verdict & Rating
A thriller need not be strewn with corpses, sleaze, or gore all over. Halahal has demonstrated that it can also be made with a subtle and mellowed look. It’s a clean thriller which is gripping and there is no reason to skip this. Halahal is worth watching for its realistic treatment and lively performances of Sachin Khedeker and Barun Sobti which are an asset to the film.