Rating: 3 out of 5.

Aditya Roy Kapoor walks into a man’s house dressed like a serial killer, brutally stabs him to death, and then jumps off the balcony to make his escape from the crime scene. Directed by Vardhan Ketkar, the 2023 thriller “Gumraah” is an official Hindi remake of the 2019 film “Thadam,” which was written and directed by Magizh Thirumeni. Although the story reveals the murderer’s face in the very first scene, the real mystery begins when the police apprehend two men who both resemble the prime suspect in the murder case.

Clocking in at a little over two hours, “Gumraah” takes some time to become interesting and has a more gripping in the second half. Aditya Roy Kapoor portrays lookalikes Arjun and Ronnie. While the former is an ordinary, hard-working professional, the latter is a gambler and small-time fraudster. Preliminary evidence establishes one of them is the killer, but as the investigation progresses, it becomes increasingly confounding for cops to determine which one of them is guilty, as both claim their innocence.

Aditya Roy Kapoor skillfully leads this crime-mystery with his dual performances, effectively portraying two distinct personalities. He particularly shines as Ronnie, the thug-type character, who is a wisecracker and delivers some highly amusing dialogues throughout the film. Even though he doesn’t exude “action-hero” energy at first glance, Aditya impressed viewers as an ex-soldier in “The Night Manager,” and here too he pulls off exaggerated action scenes with ease. Mrunal Thakur and Ronit Roy portray cops leading the investigation into the case, and in an intriguing twist, it becomes apparent that one of them holds a personal vendetta against the suspects.

The film’s pace is hindered by unnecessary songs, prolonged sequences and could’ve used a twenty minute trim. Additionally, there are some noticeable plot holes in the script that defy logic. For example, one of the biggest questions that keeps gnawing at you while watching the film is why the cops don’t bother to establish a motive for the murder, instead of constantly grilling the suspects and hoping for a confession. Nevertheless, thanks to some witty dialogues writing and skillful performances, “Gumraah” proves to be worth a watch. It was definitely more entertaining than “Dead Ringers,” a thriller series that also revolves around identical-looking protagonists.

You can stream the film on Netflix.

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