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HIT The First Case review: Rajkummar Rao shines in this suspenseful thriller

Rajkummar Rao

HIT The First Case isn’t just another Hindi remake of a South Indian film floating around. The film is much more than just a sharp if slightly over-the-top murder mystery. For starters, it establishes a potential franchisee, the future of which will be determined by the box office performance of this film. Beyond that, HIT is a well-crafted thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end, a quality that today’s whodunnits appear to have lost. The film, starring Rajkummar Rao and Sanya Malhotra, is a throwback to old-school Bollywood thrillers that will keep you glued to your seat for the entire 136-minute runtime.

HIT follows Vikram (Rajkummar), a police officer who struggles to deal with his past demons while navigating the horrors of his job. Vikram has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of his wife’s violent death. But he is thrown in at the deep end when his girlfriend Neha (a forensic expert played by Sanya) goes missing as part of a missing person case. Now, Vikram must race against the clock to figure out how these cases are linked and whether he can save both girls.

The film starts slowly, with three separate tracks serving as preludes, introducing us to the characters and their backstories. However, they appear to be disconnected, and as a result, the first half hour of the film feels too loose. Even if it lacks context at first, it isn’t boring. However, as the investigation begins, the film comes into its own. It subtly throws red herrings in your face, and you quickly begin to doubt every character.

HIT’s thrill factor can be compared favorably to some of the other recent good Bollywood thrillers, most notably Drishyam (interestingly, another south remake). For nearly two hours, the action, suspense, tense and loud background score keep you on the edge of your seat. It also depicts the protagonist’s brilliance very well. In demonstrating his intelligence, the plot does not denigrate the other cops or portray them as bumbling buffoons, as many films have done. Everyone is competent to vary degrees, but Vikram is a cut above the rest.

The depiction of PTSD and panic attacks is good, but it quickly becomes repetitive. There are only so many times you can see a person out of breath as a result of the same trigger. I understand that it was done to demonstrate how much Vikram is affected by his past trauma, but after a while, the scenes start to feel familiar without adding much to the narrative.

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