The remake of Sailesh Kolanu‘s 2020 Telugu film by the same name, Hit: The First Case ends with the promise of a second film. But given the bewildering proceedings in this, one is already apprehensive about the next installment.
HIT stands for Homicide Intervention Team and it’s here that Vikram (Rajkummar Rao) works. His girlfriend Neha (Sanya Malhotra) works in the forensics department. And something seems off right from the beginning, both in their relationship as well as in the film.
For one, the dialogues by Girish Kohli lend the film an artificial hue. It’s like two people speaking outlines rather than having a conversation that appears genuine. The dialogue and their delivery seem disjointed and never quite fit in. Plus, the editing is so patchy that it feels like a sledgehammer is at work to break up the scenes into bits.
The intention might have been to use it as a stylistic device to add pace and urgency to the narrative, but it only manages to make it disjointed and confusing. A character is allowed just half a line or expression, and we cut to another frame without giving us any time to process.
Vikram is suffering from PTSD, plagued by memories from the past that have made him pyrophobic. He lives with a constant fear that something bad is going to happen. And half an hour into the proceedings, we share the same feeling.
The film works as a typical whodunnit – we have two missing girls, a dead body and a dozen suspects.
As details slowly emerge we get to know that Neha was working on a case of a young girl who has gone missing. As a frantic Vikram tries to piece together the evidence we wonder if the two disappearances are linked.
Lie detector, Marco tests, DNA sampling, tracing fingerprints – the film keeps busy with usual police procedural but what undermines it as a crime thriller is the way scenes are set up that make it unintentionally funny or simply unconvincing. Rajkummar Rao and Jatin Goswami, two senior investigators quibbling like teenagers while their boss Dalip Tahil tries to calm the situation feels silly. As does the stereotyping of divorced women.
In trying to keep the audience guessing, HIT comes up with an overwrought plot that still leaves us with more questions than answers. And the big reveal at the end is so contrived that one is never quite convinced.
And if we can’t be motivated enough to buy into it then that’s half the battle lost already. Given the shoddy writing, there is precious little that even dependable actors can do. Sanya Malhotra is hardly allowed any screen time and Rajkummar Rao seems more confused and out of breath rather than an investigating officer weighed down by a painful past.
Hit misses the mark by making a mockery of the mystery it promised to unravel.
Rating: 1.5 quints out of 5.