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'Dial 100' Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta Shine in a Lifeless Thriller
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'Dial 100' Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta Shine in a Lifeless Thriller

Dial 100, starring Manoj Bajpayee & Neena Gupta among others, is streaming on Zee5.

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Movie Reviews
2 min read

Dial 100

'Dial 100' Review: Manoj Bajpayee, Neena Gupta Shine in a Lifeless Thriller

“Jab 100 number dial karte hain log, kahin na kahin maddat ki umeed hoti hai logon mein” says Sr Police Inspector Nikhil Sood, speaking to a distressed caller from his Emergency Control Room in Mumbai. Written and directed by Rensil D’Silva, Dial 100 starts off as a slow burn thriller before losing steam and reaching a tepid end.

Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s camera guides us as we follow Nikhil Sood into his control room, and leaves the drenched city outside to get accustomed to the sparse interiors of a police command centre. The drudgery of buzzing phone lines and routine conversations gets broken as a strange call from a lady gets transferred to Nikhil.

There is a sense of foreboding in the tone. The woman initially claims to be suicidal, and then reveals her sinister motives. Nikhil Sood tries to reason with her, but soon realises that things are spinning out of his control. As he desperately searches for her location while simultaneously trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle that inextricably bind him and his family to that woman, Dial 100 adroitly commands our attention.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Stills from <em>Dial 100</em>.</p></div>

Stills from Dial 100.

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The set up is tantalising, and one understands why the makers were tempted to keep Manoj Bajpayee in every frame. Detailed close-ups reveal how effortlessly he mines the weariness on his face. Manoj Bajpayee is a master of his craft and his exceptional control over his limbs and voice makes this another riveting performance.

As information about the characters slowly bleed out and we meet the other missing pieces of the puzzle, we expect a more edge-of-the-seat kind of thriller.

However, it’s here that the loopholes in the writing become evident. There is the overarching theme of revenge versus justice, of self preservation and going to any extent to protect loved ones. Once the basic plot is revealed and we understand the characters and their motives, the film seems to run out of things to say. And we haven't even reached the climax. The dialogues become cumbersome and one knows the exact manner in which scores will be settled.

Nikhil Sood is torn between trying to calm his worried wife (Sakshi Tanwar), discipline his truant son (Svar Kamble ) and respond to the strange queries of Seema (Neena Gupta), the woman who calls on the helpline. While most of the film is clearly a Manoj Bajpayee show, Sakshi Tanwar and Neena Gupta give it their all. Nandu Madhav and Yayendra Bahuguna, despite limited screen time, make each moment count. If only Dial 100 had dialled up the tension and intensity and managed to grip us till the very end it would have been a more powerful thriller.

Our rating: 2.5 Quints out of 5

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