A suspense thriller set in the precincts of a rich and privileged family is not an easy feat to pull off for a first-time director. Naman Nitin Mukesh, directing his brother Neil in what is arguably his most complex screen avatar since Johnny Gaddar, succeeds in creating a murder mystery about the comeuppance of the rich, that serves up ample proportions of glamour, sex, suspense and sordidness.
In the tradition of the best suspense cinema, the narrative moves at a swelling pace of breathless upheavals, and it leaves you guessing till the closing titles. Shot in striking grey-and-white exteriors that play up the blood-red murkiness beneath, this thriller thrills at all the right places by creating a multiplicity of sexual conflicts that carry the film forward lurching to a gripping finale when the wheelchair-bound protagonist is hunted down by a masked killer.
Perhaps the plot strains a little too hard to stay ahead of audiences’ expectations. And the actors are not uniformly competent. It is sad to see performers of substance like Rajit Kapoor, Gul Panag and Manish Choudhary straining to make themselves heard. Luckily for them, the background score is not too loud. Unlike other suspense thrillers in Hindi, the sounds and music (by Daniel B George) played in the background do not impinge on the narrative.
There is a welcome restraint in the verbal and visual exchanges. The suspense is well maintained in scenes such as the one the family caregiver harnesses the disabled hero for a bath. One wishes there were more such moments to keep the body and soul of the narrative in sync.
Nonetheless the screenplay (written by the film’s leading man) constantly springs surprises. Bypass Road is an original tale of unlimited affluence and unchecked greed. As a vehicle for Neil Nitin Mukesh’s come back to form it works effectively. It makes you wonder why this talented actor has been languishing.