wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Too many suspects spoil the broth. Anyone could be the killer and yet your interest is not quite kindled. The dry and droopy narrative lulls the senses instead of engaging us in the whodunnit. (Streaming partner: Amazon Prime)

Read more
Director: Anu Menon
Running time: 135 minutes
More Movie Info

You would think that if 10/10 character are suspects, you would be at the edge of the seat. Neeyat, though, spends way too much time in dry introductions that are made to sound peppy. If only sarcasm was enough to hook a viewer in.

With this lack of attention to writing and execution, I found its matter-of-fact treatment of homosexually most refreshing.

It doesn’t help that the introduction leads you to believe that not one character is genuine and all have an agenda of their own. Is it a surprise then that you don’t like any of them, or don’t root for any of them? Just the one potentially unbiased character comes in too late, and the strangeness around them lasts long enough to wear you out.

It is cheeky of the writers to call our dislike for the characters ‘middle-class judgement’. My reaction to the blunt expression was perfectly captured by Vidya Balan. Unfortunately, that is the extent to which her talent is utilised. Otherwise, she could have sleep-walked through this portrayal of wannabe-Holmes-of-a-character.

When her character is not creating the intended impact of making her sound like she’s reading a Wikipedia entry, she makes interesting observations. And even more surprising is that she finds her equal in another character in terms of knowing human nature. But that bit is not put to use, and doesn’t raise the stakes. It doesn’t help that performances other than Ram Kapoor’s are theatrical, creating little to match what Vidya Balan does, let alone what she is capable of.

Other than that, Neeyat creates an obvious Knives Out atmosphere. However, the production is uneven. In one moment, it is comic, and in another, it has this artsy treatment. The music does it no favours by not coming together as a whole and seeming choppy. With this lack of attention to writing and execution, I found its matter-of-fact treatment of homosexually most refreshing. I wish more Hindi films had such a natural hand at it.

Unfortunately, though this is hardly enough to make the film worth two-plus hours of your time, other effort, and, of course, money.

- meeta, a part of the audience

23 reviewers(?) - 0 yays 17 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

So-So, by L. RAVICHANDER, Deccan Chronicle : ...An interesting cameo from an unannounced actor turning the table adds credibility and also the possibility of a sequel to Neeyat. A hundred and forty minutes initially seem a tad dreary, but Anu Menon ensures he catches the eyeballs of the viewer post the interval. ‘Neeyat’ may have its faults and its sketchy moments. But if you go to this Scotland castle, you are unlikely to crib about the effort.... full review

So-So, by Abhimannyu Mathur, DNA : ...Neeyat is a good attempt in this underexplored genre, but you don’t get marks for trying in a field as cut throat as filmmaking. The end result is, sadly, not as slick as it could have been with all the ingredients director Anu Menon had with her. And that’s truly a shame!... full review

So-So, by Deepajana pal, Film Companion : ...Neeyat revels itself to be leaning heavily on contrivance and coincidence. Even if you have not read a single mystery by Agatha Christie, chances are you will anticipate the final twist (and reveal) in the film.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, watch the film if you like old school murder mysteries. Vidya Balan has excelled in another complex character. How we wish it was all better put together.... full review

So-So, by LIPIKA VARMA, Free Press Journal : ...All in all, Neeyat is a one-time watch also because Neeyat marks Vidya Balan’s return to theatres after her successful stint on OTT with three super hits.... full review

So-So, by JOYEETA MITRA SUVARNA, India TV : ...Apart from this, almost all the actors of Neeyat areknown for their performance like Ram Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Nikki Walia, Neeraj Kabi, Shahana Goswami but they fell prey to the weak story.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Post-interval, the petering out is rapid. Some of the performers are game triers, especially Ram Kapoor, but the milling around doesn’t help. Neither does Balan’s stolid clomping around, trying to pull off a smart sleuth, who also, that’s right, has something to hide. Smart viewers know a red herring when they see it.... full review

So-So, by Shubham Kulkarni, koimoi : ...Anu Menon’s humour is something that always lands nicely without taking away anything from the moment. Neeyat is no exception. While she attempts to layer her script by adding a commentary of sorts on the exploitation of the have-nots at the hands of the wealthy, but it never blooms into a conversation. The mystery is fun to watch, and some twists even work nicely. You can expect a seasoned movie if she attempts to make another whodunit.... full review

So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...While I wish Neeyat was more its own film, it’s nice to see Balan continue to work regularly and well, on what seem like her own terms. She starred in one of the best Hindi films of 2021, Sherni, and one of the best of last year, Jalsa. In an industry where most actors are operating from a place of calculation and fear, hers will be a second and third innings to watch.... full review

So-So, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Neeyat is an honest attempt to bring Hollywood’s much-hyped humorous detective drama into the Hindi cinema industry. But the tactics and technical aspects haven’t been good enough to make a decent film.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Neeyat is able to sustain the mystery until the final act, with a massive twist or two thrown in for good measure. Therein lies the biggest success of a fast-paced, strictly by-the-book thriller that isn't exactly a true-blue humdinger but is never in any danger of going bust either.... full review

So-So, by, : ...Ram Kapoor’s act as a billionaire comes across as a parody of Vijay Mallya. His one-tone acting is something that he needs to seriously consider. Ditto for Shashank Arora who needs to come out of his serious boy image. Neeraj Kabi and Rahul Bose try to play their parts well. Shahana Goswami’s over the top acting feels a bit unnecessary while the rest of the cast are also passable with their performances."... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Among the noteworthy actors is Ram Kapoor, in full-blown corporate charlatan mode. Rahul Bose has a few fun moments as the eternally vamping Jimmy. Vidya Balan, who has previously played a rookie detective in Bobby Jasoos (2014), is as serviceable as the film itself.... full review

So-So, by Pooja Birala Jaiswal, The Week : ...Somehow surprisingly, nobody in the film is a happy soul. As if to declare that all rich people have some deep frustrations and such is the life of the rich! If as an audience, we'd have been served some happy times as well, may be Neeyat could have been worth a second time watch, too.... full review

So-So, by Dhaval Roy, Times of India : ...The film is watchable purely for the performances and the way it's stylised. It offer a couple of spooky scenes, too. But for a thriller, the movie deserved a far tighter screenplay, more suspense and surprise elements thrown in. But we are left needing for that.... full review

Thumbs down, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...In a nutshell, Neeyat is far from perfect. It needed way better writing, a focused screenplay, and more nuanced performances. There's a cameo at the end, which might put a smile on your face, though it's not sufficient to save the sinking ship. Watch Neeyat in theatres for its sheer spectacular views and if you are a Vidya Balan fan, you may be left disappointed.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...My favourite line in the film, though? “It’s dangerous to believe in your own bullshit.” Applies equally to Neeyat. Naah, wish had said niyet to this, totally.... full review

Thumbs down, by Isha Sharma, NewsBytes : ...I had high hopes for the Anu Menon directorial, but the thriller limps on more than one front. How am I supposed to take a film seriously where a father calls his son "buddy" seconds after being punched by him? Neeyat features possibly Balan's most dispirited performance, and barring its final twist, nothing else will pull the rug from under your feet.... full review

Thumbs down, by Avinash Lohana, Pinkvilla : ...Vidya Balan’s portrayal of a CBI personnel is confusing and often frustrating during the narrative, but there is a reason behind that under confident depiction and the actress brings that to life beautifully on the big screen. However, I would like to add that from a genre perspective, I wish the makers would have taken some other route to portray that aspect of Mira Rao’s personality, because especially in the second half the lack of confidence really tests your patience as an audience.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, Rediff : ...Neeyat is not only sluggish, it also creates zero interest in the characters. From that bunch, only Rahul Bose stands out, because he plays Jimmy with comic eye-rolling staginess. Vidya Balan is given an unflattering get-up and deadpan look. The positives? It is not boring, and one didn't see the final twist coming. Neeyat could, perhaps, be watched on OTT, where it is inevitably headed. These days, repeat audiences to the cinema halls are rare but a film can at least hope for it. Even after knowing how Christie's And Then There Were None (the idea behind this one) ended, one can still watch the Hindi version Gumnaam (1965) multiple times and enjoy it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...Amidst the long list of imposters, it is Shahana’s honest performance that stands out. She fills Lisa, a shallow socialite with lots of substance. Rahul provides a few moments of his whimsy magic and so does Shashank, but as one said, they only have a storm in a teacup to stir.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

No readers have rated this movie yet.

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Murder
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A murder mystery
  • General Look and Feel: Shot in what looks like a Scottish mansion with a darkish palette.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Neeyat - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Music Director:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (1)

Click here for new comment


Dear Meetu,
Unlike the times when we used to love reading Agatha Christie's detective novels - I don't even find the International adaption of her novels on celluloid interesting to watch.. After reading your review, I will give this a skip...!

Leave a Comment