Personally speaking, my favourite genre is thrillers. Now that’s the first fact stated. Secondly, I love watching well made thrillers, especially the ones which are technically up there as well. That’s two strikes right for Bypass Road. When a film hooks you on right at the start, keeps you constantly engaged right through the narrative, drives the guessing game on for most of the duration, and then ensures that there is this one final twist that shocks you with the big reveal, it more than just does its job.
That’s what Bypass Road turns out to be, a film which is a tout suspense thriller that doesn’t allow you to look elsewhere despite its running time of a little over two hours. In fact when the interval point comes, you wonder if that could be skipped in a jiffy since it arrives at a moment when the plot is really thickening.
That’s what this Neil Nitin Mukesh written and his bother Naman Nitin Mukesh directed film excels in, i.e. boast of a definitive plot. It isn’t one of those films where you can claim after first 15 minutes itself that you have figured it all out. There is an accident that happens right at the start which seems like a ploy to kill. There is a suicide which is announced but then it seems like a murder committed. And then of course there is a victim and a perpetrator and you are unsure whether everything is actually what it seems.
In the midst of this all, there is a blackmailer, a criminal on the run, a white collar businessman, a sympathiser, a loyalist and an opportunist. Amidst them all, there is one person who is wearing a mask but then an investigator arrives who has a job in hand to unveil the real mask which has actually not been worn.
There are various actors who may or may not have been wearing a mask, literally or metaphorically, but in the interest of not really revealing any spoiler, let’s just say that it is near impossible to actually guess the twist in the tale (or shall we say the double twist) that is revealed in the climax. This is where you actually give a nod of appreciation to the combined effort of the Mukesh brothers as they take one roller coaster ride and ensure that as an audience, you too have all the fun.
Of course when it comes to a whodunit like this, there are many factors required to keep the pace up when it comes to storytelling. This is where the brothers ensure best in class treatment when it comes to the technical aspects. Be it the cinematography, background score, sound design, sets, location or the edit pattern (watch out for the sequence where Neil is submerged in a pool, or the whole climax), it fits in perfectly well with the genre. Yes, it is pulpy and fluctuates between massy and classy. However, the narrative stays true to the genre and does want you to apply your brains.
This also means that as an audience, you have to be constantly agile and up to speed with what’s playing on screen. You miss a minute of the film and either you may end up missing a clue or perhaps a red herring which was out there to tease you. After all, this doesn’t come across as a simplified account of a thriller which spoon feeds an audience. Instead, it wants them to apply mind of their own even if some of the plot points (especially the one centred on a gun or the registered billets) need a much closer watch lest you miss out on the details.
The film as a whole too revels in details and performances support that as well. Neil Nitin Mukesh is fantastic in a part which requires the inherent aggressive character of his to turn vulnerable after an accident. Rajit Kapoor has a very meaty role and does quite well. Ditto for Gul Panag who is seen in the big screen after a while and is perfect for the part. Shama Sikandar does more than just exuding oomph and is integral to the film’s plot. Adah Sharma brings in the innocence that is required in a drama like this which has several evil forces. Sudhanshu Pandey is adequate for the role that he enacts. Taher Shabbir is very believable and does well again after Fan and Nama Shabana. Manish Chaudhary gets into a cop avtar again and enjoys his time out. Mukesh Bhatt is important as well in the film’s storytelling.
As for the storytelling as a whole, Naman’s direction for Bypass Road deserves appreciation for how it unfolds. A suspense thriller which has an attention grabbing opening, a chilling interval point, a pacy second half and a shocking climax, you can’t miss its beginning and definitely not the end.