Suspense thrillers do not get made very often in India. One of the reasons for that could be is that there is a dearth of good stories in that genre. Perhaps, that is why a lot of foreign films, specifically in this genre, get remade in Hindi and other Indian languages. The Amitabh Bachchan – Taapsee Pannu starrer suspense thriller ‘Badla’, one of the more notable successes of 2019, was the remake of the Spanish film ‘The Invisible Guest’/’Contratiempo’. The film was also remade in Telugu as ‘Evaru’. Now, another Spanish film ‘The Body’ gets officially remade in Hindi with the same title. Starring Rishi Kapoor, Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala and Vedhika in principal roles, this one, too, is a suspense thriller.
Maya Verma (Sobhita Dhulipala) dies of a heart-attack and her dead body is brought to the morgue. Things take a turn when her body disappears mysteriously from there SP Jairaj Rawal (Rishi Kapoor) and his team arrive at the hospital to investigate the case. While some people think there is a supernatural angle to the story, some believe Maya might have lost and the, regained consciousness because of a rare medical condition. The prime suspect in this case is Ajay Puri (Emraan Hashmi), Maya’s husband who Jairaj strongly believes to have committed the crime. Through flashback, we get to know that Ajay was unhappy with Maya’s over-possessiveness and the crazy behavioural tendencies she showed. He was having an affair with Ritu (Vedhika), a student at the university he was teaching in. Multiple theories pop-up leading to a climax where all the loose ends are tied together.
A good suspense thriller is the one which keeps you guessing till the big reveal comes around and has enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed in the narrative. I have not seen the original Spanish film, so I watched this remake as a fresh, original film. The climax packs in a solid punch and you are impressed with the way the director manages to keep you away from the possibility of the eventual outcome for the longest time. The way the climax unfolds is definitely one of the highlights of the film. What acts as a spoiler are the trite, commonplace tropes which are used repeatedly throughout the film. For instance, different characters experiencing delirium about a particular character trying to kill them is something which is used more than once in the film. The film is just 103 minutes long but because of these tried-and-tested tropes being used multiple number of times, it comes across as stretched at several places. The relationship between Maya and Ajay could have been fleshed out more properly. As stated above, the big reveal is exciting but a few loopholes come into the picture in the process which should have been corrected in the scripting stage itself.
Emraan Hashmi does a good job. He manages to bring out the various shades of his character effectively to the fore. Rishi Kapoor’s performance is the best in the film. He uplifts the film substantially with his towering performance. Sobhita has a limited character arc but does well within the scope she gets. Vedhika, in her Hindi debut, looks extremely beautiful and acts ably. By the time the climax arrives, you realise her character ought to have more scenes. The next Hindi film she chooses to do should be the one where she gets more scope to show her mettle as an actress. Anupam Bhattacharya as officer Pavan and Rukhsar Ahmed as Dr. Tanya pitch in with effective performances.
Jeethu Joseph, who has primarily worked in Malayalam cinema and had made the original ‘Drishyam’, makes his Hindi debut with this film. Looking at his filmography, one had expected a more memorable Bollywood debut. He definitely shows promise and here is hoping his next Hindi film turns out to be as good, if not better, than ‘Drishyam’. Satheesh Kurup’s camerawork is one of the main highlights of the film. The songs (Shameer Tandon, Arko) are quite nice; “Rom Rom” (music: Shamir Tandon, lyrics: Sameer) is the best of the lot. Clinton Cerejo’s background score is very good; it helps in elevating the tension in several important scenes.
‘The Body’ delivers enough chills to keep you invested in its narrative. As somebody who had not seen the original, I quite enjoyed the film. The film has its share of flaws but is a fairly entertaining fare nonetheless.