3 Stars (out of 4)
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Rahasya is a solid police procedural, with an intriguing pool of suspects in the murder of a teenage girl. Inspired by a real case, the movie elucidates the way ordinary secrets can come back to haunt us.
The mystery begins when the body of 18-year-old Ayesha Mahajan (Sakshi Sem) is discovered by the family maid, Remi (Ashwini Kalsekar). Sometime between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., Ayesha was murdered in her own bedroom, her throat slashed.
It seems obvious to police Inspector Malwade (Nimai Bali) that Ayesha was murdered by her father, Dr. Sachin Mahajan (Ashish Vidyarthi). Dr. Mahajan was angry at discovering his daughter’s sexual relationship with a Muslim neighbor boy, Riyaz (Kunal Sharma), and he killed her in drunken fit of rage, Malwade assumes. Never mind that Riyaz is nowhere to be found, and that the other member of the household staff, Chetan (Manoj Maurya), also absconded during the night.
The case draws the interest of Central Bureau of Investigation agent Paraskar (Kay Kay Menon), who finds the answer offered by the police too convenient. Specifically, he doubts that Sachin could have slashed Ayesha’s throat so precisely given how drunk he was.
Paraskar’s investigation — with the help of his dutiful assistant, Parvez (Abhinav Sharma) — uncovers additional motives that shine the spotlight on everyone from staff members to neighbors. It also puts Paraskar in the crosshairs of the real killer.
Menon’s captivating performance is the main reason to watch Rahasya. Writer-director Manish Gupta knows this, so he employs closeups of Menon’s face liberally, encouraging the audience to focus on his star. Detective Paraskar’s initial quirkiness is short-lived, allowing the character to establish an identity distinct from all the Sherlock clones out there. He’s meticulous and principled, chasing down each lead while ignoring his wife’s suggestion to just take a bribe and be done with it.
The mystery itself is compelling, with each suspect and theory laid out in turn. Only during Paraskar’s final reveal do things slow down. Right when the audience wants the answers, director Gupta delays with flashbacks and interruptions by the suspects. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it is frustrating.
Gupta’s spin on a true crime story highlights the dangers of jumping to conclusions. While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, those with the strongest motives may be those you least suspect.