Digital Review: ‘Guilty’

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Marking the debut of Dharma Productions’ digital arm Dharmatic, ‘Guilty’ held promise of suspense and edge-of-the-seat viewing. Starring Kiara Advani in the lead roles, along with Akansha Ranjan Kapoor and Gurfateh Singh Pirzada in pivotal roles, the film is now streaming on Netflix.

The story surrounds an alleged rape of a student called Tanu (Ranjan Kapoor). She has accused VJ (Singh Pirzada), who has been denying the allegation. His girlfriend Nanki (Advani) is struggling with whether she should stand by him or now. Did he rape her? Or was this a conveniently cooked up story in order for Tanu to get some limelight in the media, with VJ being a politician’s son?

It has to be said that ‘Guilty’ does grip you. Director Ruchi Narain has made sure the characters are very well etched out to never really make the viewer believe one way or another for much of the entire film. The order of the incident is also unravelled as the story moves on and this is a plus-point. Thankfully it doesn’t confuse the viewer but seems to open out the story to interpretation and keeps the viewer engaged with the story, due to the many questions that surround the situation and the individual characters.

Advani plays Nanki with an impressive performance and her character is one of those that seems to be very unclear. She plays on this very well, showing vulnerability, confusion, anger and also obvious inner mental torture throughout the film. Singh Pirzada is also fantastic as VJ, and you can’t really tell until the climax whether he really is guilty. His chemistry with Advani is something interesting and as the couple don’t seem to always be lovey-dovey due to the nature of the story, the raw emotions seem to be portrayed very well. Aside from this, performances by Ranjan Kapoor, Kunal Vijaykar, Dalip Tahil, Manu Rishi and Niki Walia to name a few serve the story well too.

Although the gripping story is enough to keep you hooked, the ending does prove to be slightly underwhelming. There’s a huge build up to what the truth is and it seems to then fall flat. Although the moral of the story is a very important and worthy one, it unfortunately doesn’t have as big an impact as it could’ve had. This could be because the actual truth comes out maybe too late or purely because the audience is ready for something explosive which doesn’t really seem to arrive. This is a disappointing thing as a viewer after the unravel is so interesting.

Nonetheless, ‘Guilty’ is a great first attempt by Dharmatic and Advani shows off her versatility as Nanki after the comedy ‘Good News’ at the end of last year. Watch this one for a decent film which highlights a very topical and important issue within the sub-continent but don’t be too hopeful of a particularly impactful ending.

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