Shaitaan: A Spine Chilling Crime Thriller Starrer by Ajay Devgan and R Madhavan
There once was a period in Bombay. A warm Christmas Eve. Two strangers, both alone. With a solid start to the new year, Sriram Raghavan’s Merry Christmas delivers on its promises of an aching blend of romance and nostalgia, mystery and suspense.
Twenty years after making his screen debut in Ek Hasina Thi, Sriram Raghavan presents another delicious story about a lovely woman whom an unknown person harasses. The damsel has developed into a mother, and this time, she is hiding a secret from both the man and herself. We witness some witty and melancholic conversations about unfulfilled love and unrelenting heartache as they get along on Christmas Eve. Still, the slow burn eventually consumes our attention, leaving plenty of soot in its wake.
Like his spiritual mentor Alfred Hitchcock, Raghavan enjoys giving the audience as much information as possible while still confusing us with the strange ways of fate. That may explain why his movies are so worth seeing again. You can’t help but want to return to the crime scene to locate the needle you missed.
He adds delectable literary and cinematic allusions to the story to make it more appealing. Thus, a copy of Raymond Chandler’s Playback appears just when you wish to return a few frames. Similar to the book, Vinay Pathak, the investigating officer, is touched by the subject of the investigation’s emotional pleas.
He makes allusions to The Adventures of Pinocchio (1986), The Merry Widow (1952), and Kati Patang (1971) as he builds to a story of lies, half-truths, and shifting perceptions. Not to be overlooked is the song by Asha Bhosle from Raja Rani (1973), which honours the thief within each of us.
Merry Christmas Review
- Director: Sriram Raghavan
- Cast: Vinay Pathak, Sanjay Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, and Vijay Sethupathi
- Duration: 141 minutes.
- Storyline: A romantic meet-cute between two strangers on Christmas Eve swiftly devolves into a chaotic nightmare.
The production design creates the era’s atmosphere. It gives the film the pulpy feel of a paperback edition while the dialogue is deep without being didactic. Pritam’s compositions clearly show the smooth build-up; the sound design heightens the mystery, and the editing infuses the story with clever surprises.
Katrina and Vijay, the two losers in love, are a good match, and Sanjay Kapoor gives the story a subtle, sleazy touch. Katrina, in what may be her most sophisticated and multifaceted role to date, not only plays a stunning and seemingly innocent woman but also manages to capture the essence of a nuanced and multidimensional character.
She is suitably flirtatious with Vijay, who pulls the strings with a performance that simultaneously warms and breaks the heart, and she looks less stiff in her conversations with the camera. Without empathetic characters, this crime drama would not have been able to hold together, and Vijay is the central figure. Through his jiving style or portrayal of Albert’s powerlessness in the face of Maria’s mystery, Vijay transforms a helpless hero into a charming encounter.