Star Cast: Sidhant Gupta, Vedika Pinto, Sharad Kelkar, Bhoomika Chawla, and Kishore Kadam.
Director: Shashant Shah
What’s Good: Sidhant Gupta’s honesty towards his craft & the tension that him Sharad and the set up manage to create.
What’s Bad: That confused space where the makers stood all the time while making the movie. The tug of war between shaping it into a thriller and a moral conflict drama is so irritating that it even kills the climax.
Loo Break: It is reportedly based on a South drama titled Ishq, if you have seen the original take plenty. If you haven’t, the first half is dragged enough for you to take the cue.
Watch or Not?: It’s a film that will leave you in a confused state and an unclear purpose will add to it and make it severe. Get into it at your own risk.
Available On: Netflix.
Runtime: 135 Minutes.
A fresh couple decides to go out on a date to celebrate the girlfriend’s (Neha, Vedika) birthday. The boyfriend (Adi, Sidhant) plans a date that takes them to town in Mumbai. His libido rises and they decide to kiss in the car at midnight. A police officer catches them and turns out he is a pervert too. You know the rest.
Operation Romeo Movie Review: Script Analysis
The ‘Road Trip Went Wrong’ genre might be niche, but isn’t new to Indian cinema. The most recent decent entries to it were NH-10 and Fahadh Faasil’s Irul. Operation Romeo is an addition and has all the elements to be a top-notch thriller that haunts you for at least some time. But instead it ends up being a confused product that doesn’t know its purpose and leaves the audience unsatisfied.
Original story by Ratheesh Ravi and screenplay by Arshad Syed, Operation Romeo talks about many things in and around our ecosystem. There is a constant reminder of how safe a world we are yet to create for women, and how piercing is the predator gaze that is somehow inherited in many men. At least the opening 15 minutes say so. But what follows is quite stuck to the base message yet away from it. The writers try to shape a thriller that will end up educating and moving audiences who might see themselves in these situations. A noble thought.
But the translation on screen never tries to co-exist. The messaging is unclear and the thriller part is rushed, so technically they never blend into each other to present a story that thrills and teaches at the same time. Take Stree for example. I know it’s a comedy film, but the blueprint is the same. You are told about the struggles of being a woman by putting men in their shoes and also making you laugh at it, but never make it look like two different entities. At one point Operation Romeo even felt like an open letter from introverted men who don’t pick up fights and are considered less a man by some. But that wasn’t the case I think. So now you know why confused.
Credit where it’s due, the tension building in Operation Romeo is amazing. Once they set out on the said date, you know every move is pushing them towards a doomed day, but it is all still scary. What also helps largely is that I have spent my entire existence in this city, and it is easy to imagine myself in such situation, on the same streets. Even the makers know they are good in this department, so they stretch it throughout the entire first half and end up being over indulgent.
And the ‘thriller’ begins in the second half. So these are in a way two films joined to be one. To reach this point and accommodate as much as they can in the given 2 hours 15 minutes, the makers take the convenience path more than once. The antagonist just happens to walk and learn the big secrets about the bad men. There is no effort to make it at least look like it’s organic.
I understand the gest to make a lead man who himself isn’t idealisti. He is flawed. His concern when his girlfriend is saved from the Predator’s clutches is not whether she is fine or not, but whether he touched her or not. The fact that she calls him less a man triggers him more than a predator aiming at her. So it’s all problematic and borderline toxic. If your ‘hero’ is so complex, let the audience decide whether to be on his side or not. Why create a half-baked climax and spoon-feed an emotion that has already raised in the minds of the viewers?
Operation Romeo Movie Review: Star Performance
Sidhant Gupta who makes his big screen debut has talent and you can see that when he does some heavy lifting. Of course there is still a long way to go, but he definitely can be polished and given good roles to prove himself even further.
Sharad Kelkar cake walks this character as is an instant pervert when we meet him. While he did overdo it twice or thrice, that wasn’t the biggest concern in this confusing plot. But I am not ignoring that either. Kishore Kadam is an actor who can make the weakest part look the strongest!
Vedika Pinto gets to be the ‘victim’. The good part is that the makers don’t write the crime against her in a way that she just becomes a plot point. But they write her as a plot point and kill that one good thing. She is just the trigger who even more triggers the boyfriend who suddenly realises he is supposed to be a MAN!
Bhoomika Chawla has a beautiful screen presence, you guys. The actor plays a pivotal part and does it quite impressively. Her dialogues fall flat when forced to speak in Marathi but overall it’s good.
Operation Romeo Movie Review: Direction, Music
Shashant Shah’s direction while being average is also quite confusing. On paper the story looks like it wanted to take a look at moral policing through the gaze of a man who himself is a moral police, but stuck in a sad situation. But on screen it looks like a manchild who is so not in control of his brain, that he doesn’t know what he is supposed to be angry about.
The movie is being promoted as an educating source material. Nothing that talks about revenge and a man being more obsessed with the quest whether his girlfriend is “pure” or not can be educating sir. If that was the case, Kabir Singh/Arjun Reddy was a master’s degree lecture to be a toxic man. Well, even they promoted it like the best movie. Audience has to be ultra smart now.
Music in Operation Romeo just exists and does nothing to help the movie elevate even a bit.
Operation Romeo Movie Review: The Last Word
Operation Romeo is an idea that wanted to be a game-changer but got entangled in its own unsure thoughts that it ended up going no where.
Operation Romeo Trailer
Operation Romeo releases on 22 April, 2022.
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