Bypass Road Movie Review: Vikram Kapoor (Neil Nitin Mukesh), a fashion label tycoon, is incapacitated in a car accident that leaves him paralysed from the waist below. Before that he is seen rushing bloodied from the house of a model, Sarah (Shama Sikandar) who is later found dead, having allegedly committed suicide. Now wheelchair-bound, Vikram is embroiled in the death investigation of the girl, with whom he once had a one-night stand. Vikram is also hounded by a masked killer, with the suspicion falling on the people around him. The red herrings include his caring father (Rajit Kaput), his young, devious second wife (Gul Panag), Vikram's obsessed colleague (Adah Sharma), a vengeful business rival (Sudhanshu Pandey), and Sarah's fugitive fiancee (Taher Shabbir). Bypass Road Is A Solid Suspense Thriller Made With Grit & Passion: Neil Nitin Mukesh.
When was the last time that Bollywood made a whodunit? My memory is quite hazy about that, though I had seen quite a few good ones in the '90s, notably Gupt and Kaun. I do remember, though, the last time a wheelchair-bound protagonist was terrorised by a masked killer, and that was earlier this year in the innovative horror thriller, Game Over, starring Taapsee Pannu. While Game Over had gone under the radar, it was noted for playing around the rules of the serial killer genre.
Can't say the same about Bypass Road, though. It feels like a tribute to the whodunits of the '80s and the '90s. Which isn't a bad idea, since the auteur filmmaker Sriram Raghavan has made a career making excellent films that also paid tribute to the pulp cinema of the yore. But Naman Nitin Mukesh, Neil's younger brother and Raghavan's one-time protege, who has directed Bypass Road, has also retained the style of making that was seen back in the '90s.
There is intrigue in the premise, as the story explores Vikram's connection with Sarah's death and the deep, dark secrets of the other characters that are linked to the mystery. There are a few engaging scenes here and there but the buildup to bringing the killer in front of Vikram is stretched, with three bothersome additions of songs. I nearly cringed when I heard the remix version of the "So Gaya Yeh Jahan" track from Tezaab, recreated as a party track. I agree that the original track was sung by Neil's father, Nitin Mukesh, but that's no excuse to make it into such a bland recreation. Bypass Road Song So Gaya Yeh Jahan: Neil Nitin Mukesh Fails to Make Us Groove on This Remix Version of Teezab’s Iconic Track (Watch Video).
Adah Sharma's character is another unnecessary time-stretcher of a trope that is only there to add a needless romantic entanglement. The performances are mostly theatrical. Even the dialogues needed to be sharp, which isn't the case with Bypass Road. Yet, we are still intrigued about where the suspense is taking us.
The second half should have fared better as it is set around one night, as a hapless Vikram is chased around his house by a masked killer. There is tension, no doubt, but the sequences are again stretched and caters to every cliche in the serial killer genre book. Like the killer who can't seem to be put down even after he is burned, or hung or smacked with a car. Or the protagonist not bothering to take off the mask even when he has the serial killer cornered. Or the random insertion of a red herring character right in the middle of the killer spree. I could almost see Scream's Randy Meeks tut-tuting at what's happening here.
The killer reveal may be intriguing to some, though it is guessable (formula: remove all the persistent red herring main characters and who is left is mostly the killer). But what feels annoying is that the motivations for the killer are exactly the same as seen in a Salman Khan travesty that came out in 2017. Another scene in the climax closely resembles a sequence from Wazir, that also involved Neil Nitin Mukesh (who is involved in scripting this film). Even the BG score in the sequences at one point is reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road's theme music.
Watch The Trailer of Bypass Road:
Even more annoying is the epilogue, that adds another twist, as well as a lot of spoon-feeding. It makes us question everything we have seen before. And not in a good way, like Joker. The editing is done in a way to deliberately confuse us from either figuring out the suspense or what a mess the film is going to turn out. I think it is the latter.
Like I said before, the performances of the cast are mostly theatrical. Neil Nitin Mukesh, as an actor, is inconsistent. In some portions, especially the romantic scenes, he is blank. In a couple of scenes, he reminds us of his OTT act in 3G. But he performs decently in the scenes when he is being chased in his house, while being paraplegic. The rest of the cast is strictly okay.
- The Palpable Suspense
- Some Intriguing Scenes
- The '90s Kind of Making
- Theatrical Performances
- Too 'Inspired'
- Stretched Narrative
Bypass Road relives the whodunit genre in an intriguing manner. But the promise is undone by some very lazy writing, illogical twists, and a treatment that should have remained in the '90s.