The film is a faithful remake of Tamil thriller Ratsasan directed by Ram Kumar.
Arjan Sethi (Akshay Kumar) is a budding filmmaker based in Chandigarh who is obsessed with the horror genre. He wants to make a film on real-life serial killers but fails to find any takers in the Punjabi industry for such a subject. Since his father was a policeman killed during the course of action, he gets a chance to sit in the police exam and passes out as a police sub-inspector. His brother-in-law Narinder Singh (Chandrachur Singh) and sister Seema (Hrishitaa Bhatt) live in Kasauli along with their young daughter. Narinder helps him get a posting to his own station, where initially the station in-charge, Gudiya Parmar (Sargun Mehta) is unimpressed by him but later takes note of his deduction skills. A chance meeting with Divya (Rakul Preet Singh) leads to blossoming of romance between the two. Divya is a teacher at Arjan’s niece school and is taking care of her own niece, who is a hearing impaired kid. A deranged killer starts targetting teenage girls in Kasauli and that’s when Arjan’s seven year research into serial killers comes in handy…
Barring a few scenes, the film reads like a police procedural. The investigation takes logical turns, what with the police using both forensic science, door-to-door canvassing, as well as third degree to get hold of the killer. The police are shown to be flesh and blood people who bleed when hit and cry under emotional stress. Akshay Kumar isn’t in his supercop avatar here, as he has always been every time he has donned a police uniform before on screen. He’s rightfully depicted as a raw rookie who initially doesn’t like violence but gets hardened as time passes by. He only shoots once, and that too reluctantly.
The film is a taut thriller which keeps you on your toes throughout. The climax is a little far-fetched and is needlessly stretched but till then you remain glued to your seats. Cinematography by Rajeev Ravi and editing by Chandan Arora is top class and add to the film. The crisp frames keep the pulse going.
Director Ranjit M Tewari, who reunites with Akshay Kumar after BellBottom, has gotten lucky with his casting. Hrishitaa Bhatt and Chandrachur Singh are the picture of loving relatives initially and look every inch the bereaved parents later. Sargun Mehta shines as a hard-boiled cop and we wish she had more to do here. Rakul Preet Singh plays a sassy school teacher having progressive views on parenting and isn’t just the romantic interest of the hero. Akshay Kumar, who is 55 years of age, manages to look 36, thanks to being super fit. As said earlier, he’s much more restrained here as a cop, making you believe he’s a rookie who has bitten off more than he can chew. He doesn’t showcase vulnerability often and that he’s been able to do so convincingly is a delight. It’s a memorable performance indeed from the superstar
Akshay’s recent releases like Prithviraj and Rakshabandhan haven’t done well over the box office and this may have prompted the makers to go for an OTT release for Cuttputlli. It’s an engaging thriller and all we can say is that perhaps they should have gambled and released it in theatres…
Trailer : Cuttputlli Cuttputlli Cuttputlli
Ronak Kotecha, September 2, 2022, 12:30 PM IST
STORY: A struggling director turned cop is hot on the trail of a psycho serial killer, who is barbarically killing teenage school girls. Can he nab the killer before he strikes again?
REVIEW: Dead bodies piling up, clueless cops and an elusive killer whose motive is as mysterious as the killer himself. It’s a familiar story for a serial killer saga that plays out in the picturesque rolling hills of Kasuali – a sleepy hill station rocked by gruesome murders of innocent teenage girls. Untouched by such chilling crimes, the local cops have barely any experience or expertise to tackle a case of such mind-numbing cruelty and precision. Enter Arjan Sethi – a struggling director, who has been studying serial killers for his script that unfortunately has no takers. Reluctantly, he takes up a junior level job in the Kasuali police force that is in denial of a serial killer lurking in their town. So it’s time for Arjan to put his knowledge about the anatomy of a killer’s mind to test.
Director Ranjit Tewari and his writer Aseem Arrora build a real world around this whodunit that moves at a consistent pace with regular spurts of tension and thrill. The film justifies its name ‘Cuttputlli’ – the kind of wordplay you will understand after watching it. It’s a sharp adaptation of a Tamil film ‘Ratsasan’, which was in turn based on a chilling true story of a Russian killer, convicted of killing seven teenage boys in and around Russian Soviet between 1964 and 1985.
This means the source material is quite strong and so intriguing that it immediately evokes interest in genre fans. However, there are times when the sheer naivety of the writing sticks out. Some of the telltale signs given by the killer and the predictability of his next move is so apparent that as an audience we constantly seem to outwit the investigators. Akshay Kumar’s struggle to be taken seriously by his superiors feels real and the actor makes every effort to look the part of a 36-year-old bachelor, as projected in the film. He is back in the uniform but here he is in a much restrained avatar than his usual fiery self. Rakul Preet looks resplendent in a simplistic role of a school teacher. She makes her presence felt in the limited scope of her role. Sargun Mehta delivers comfortably as a tough talking top cop. Chandrachur Singh is aptly cast as Arjan’s wise brother-in-law.
A crime thriller needs a terrific background score. One that doesn’t interfere with the storytelling but heightens the tension in the narrative. ‘Cuttputlli’ does well in that department. The action is natural and the blood and gore are kept to a minimum despite the abject depravity of the killings. Chandan Arora’s edit is crisp but you cannot help wanting to race down to the big reveal in the end.
With its cold and damp setting in a nondescript hill town, ‘Cuttputlli’ gets the eerie atmospherics of a campy whodunit quite right. It goes to the extremes of a serial killer’s psychopathic exploits keeping in mind the sensibilities of its target audience.