There are some movies that pleasantly surprise you as the narrative that unfolds on screen turns out to be even better than the promo. Setters is one such film, and especially so since it stays true to the thriller genre. The film comes to the point right from the first sequence itself and that sets the stage for an entertaining affair ahead. It is well established in an entertainingly laid out narrative that how papers are leaked or circulated to various parts of the country and modern technology also aids the process further.
A film like this could well have become a docudrama if not handled well for good cinematic appeal. In that aspect, director Ashwini Chaudhary collaborates well with producer (and also co-writer) Vikash Mani to spin together a tale that does come across as well researched with several facts been woven in. What helps this process though is the storytelling which is fast paced right from the onset and doesn’t go into too many tangents.
That is the reason why the first 30 and the last 30 minutes are the best part of Setters. A film that lasts just two hours, it has its best moments at the beginning and the end when the entire paper leaking and student setting scenarios are shown and that too in good detail. There is a lot of complexity in the entire sequence of events, what with multiple stakeholders involved. However, Ashwini narrates it all in a very simplistic yet entertaining manner which ensures that the core concept reaches out to the audiences.
No wonder, as an audience you are entertained as Shreyas Talpade (who works for Pawan Malhotra) is the front for this ‘setting’ mafia while Aftab Shivdasani (who is a cop) is hot on his trail. The unique part about this engagement is that both Shreyas and Aftab have their own teams set and they all are well aware of who is doing what, why and from where. No one has any doubt around who is after whom and at what place and yet business goes on as usual, albeit with newer twists and turns making the entire dramatic thriller unfold quite entertainingly.
This is the reason why some of the intermittent portions seem like a quick skip, especially in some long drawn sequences involving Pawan Malhotra. Though the veteran actor usually entertains, in Setters he has an extended screen time and at places he hams due to which the realistic treatment of Setters gets impacted. On the contrary you like it more when Shreyas or Aftab are seen on screen.
The other actors who impress in their ensemble parts are Vijay Raaz, Jameel Khan, Sonnalli Seygall and Ishita Dutta. They justify their presence on screen and are convincing. As for the technical aspect of the film then right from cinematography (especially in aerial sequences) to shooting at real locations to editing pattern to background score works in quite well. That said, sets during the indoor shoot, especially at Pawan Malhotra residence, could have been done better.
However, overall as a film, Setters does well to ensure that you are glued to the proceedings right till the end. In fact the twists and turns are aplenty out there and that makes Setters a largely satisfying affair.