wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
Samrat & Co is an unfortunate recreation of Sherlock Holmes in an Indian setting, one that miserably fails in its mission. The only saving grace is that a large chunk of the audience will probably think they're really smart, because they'll solve the film's puzzles quicker than the Indian Sherlock they're watching.Read more
For starters, let's set aside the fact that Kaushik Ghatak's Samrat & Co is a recreation of a Sherlock Holmes-esque character, in India - an absolute travesty of a recreation at that. No, first let's talk about the film as an independent cinematic work, a murder mystery thrust into the hands of a super detective.
Mumbai-based celebrity detective, the eponymous Samrat, receives a strange case from a pretty young lady, a case that prompts him to travel with her to Shimla. Ultimately, a series of murders unfold, as Samrat races against time to connect the clues strewn across his path and solve the case.
Unfortunately, what we're served through this plot (that's anyway older than the hills the film is set in,) is a succession of rather juvenile 'mysterious' circumstances and events which shouldn't challenge a schoolboy, much less a supposed ace detective who can accurately guess a person's life history within minutes of meeting them.
Predictably laden with red herrings galore, the film tries too hard to be clever, but falls flat because the writers either underestimated the audience, or over-estimated themselves. Big work is made of silly substitution cipher codes and clues as simple as A-B-C.
The tangled mess of a screenplay was bad enough, but what makes matters worse is that most of the film is shot against a chroma background, with computer-generated scenery added later. It gives the film an fake look throughout; a pity because setting the film in the hills gave the film a chance to be a visual treat, a chance that was squandered by the filmmakers.
Now let's get to the film's real crime - the attempted murder of Messrs Holmes and Watson. A mockery is made of these iconic literary characters, as their Indian counterparts Samrat and Chakradhar resort to showboating, buffoonery and general incompetence, while relegating common sense and propriety to some forgotten corner.
Rajeev Khandelwal, a fair performer otherwise, really overdoes the Sherlock, while the less said about the guy who plays Watson, the better. The supporting cast of the film is essentially an assortment of people over-acting and under-acting.
In an attempt to draw at least something positive from the film, one can say that it least it never drops its pace and might even keep you interested in its silliness at all times - you wonder how much harder will the makers of the film try. Hopefully, Samrat & Co will die a death with the film, and future filmmakers will think long and hard before creating such lightweight caricatures of characters who have enthralled so many generations.
This article is by guest author Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
So-So, by Smita Vyas Kumar, Desi Martini : ...tch for the family. The whodunnit is a bit easy to crack but the detective and his sidekick are fun to watch ... full review
So-So, by purnima dixit, Desi Martini : ...Overall wud give 3 ou you wud enjoy the film if you watch it with open mind...Dont watch it just for the heck of comparison or to rip the film apart & trash the film.... instead the efforts of writer, director, actors, production house to come up with something like this should be appreciated... The whole team deserves praise for introducing us to a new private investigator, I dont think hindi films has any detective film in past many years... atleast I have not seen it..... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...To his credit, Khandelwal tries to do full justice to his character but he is hampered by a shoddy screenplay. A whodunit should keep us hooked to our seats and should keep us guessing. Here, the proceedings get tedious and after a while you stop caring for victims. You want it all to end quickly, so as to rush home and read The Hound Of The Baskervilles all over again. The ending leaves scope for a sequel and for Holmes’s sake the filmmakers shouldn’t botch it up the next time... full review
So-So, by Nupur Barua, fullhyd.com : ...There is not much to be said about Samrat And Co., except that it is a disappointment to crime and mystery buffs. This amateur attempt at the genre leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, and you may not be as welcoming of the next one that comes along. Hopefully, Ghatak will do justice to his characters in a sequel... full review
So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Movie Talkies : ...The film ends on a note which gives a clear indication of Samrat & Co. being developed as a franchise with Part 2 in the offering. If the first in the series is anything to go by, it would be good to see what the makers have to offer next. ... full review
So-So, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...Well the movie has a gripping screenplay along with decent performance by few actors like Rajeev and Madalsa. However, besides that the movie is a weak attempt in a detective based suspense thriller type of films. The cases were artificially tough which in fact turned out to be so simple that any kid could solve it easily as they have been watching TV serials like 'CID' and 'Gumraah'. 'Samrat & Co.' is definitely a better product than these TV series and thus would recommend it for 'C.I.D' & Co. fans only. As for all the 'Rajshri' banner fans, looks like their last hopes lies only in the next Salman Khan starrer film under this banner, till then keep watching their earlier classics.... full review
Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Summing up, the background score is the only decent feature of this poor film but since one cannot spend both his time and money for this one factor alone. So simply skip it and watch the American TV Series “True Detective” instead, if you really wish to see something spectacular about detectives.... full review
Thumbs down, by Prateek Sur, Bollywood Hungama : ...Produced by Kavita Barjatya, this was touted as a surprise package from Rajshri Productions, who are better known for their family dramas. But all the expectations are let down by director Kaushik Ghatak. Trust me Samrat is no Sherlock Holmes, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi or Hercule Poirot. If you love to see Bollywood mystery films and have nothing else to watch this weekend, better get yourself a DVD of Bhool Bhulaiyaa and rewatch rather than going for this squanderous stinker.... full review
Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...All in all, SAMRAT AND CO is a major letdown, certain elements notwithstanding.... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...This sort of thing just might work as a TV series, a film needs much more imagination... and novelty. Otherwise, to use a Samrat-ism: what’s the point?... full review
Thumbs down, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...Neither witty nor funny, Samrat & Co can be avoided. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ... The only good thing though is that the film is pretty much short of tedium because of the racy nature of the cutting and crowded eventology. In fact there’s even room for a promising romantic dalliance.... full review
Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...If I had to rephrase a dialogue which would sum up this film, it would be; ''boring picture ek tuti pencil ki tarah hai; there is no point.'' ... full review
Thumbs down, by Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times : ...You may laugh at the unintentional gaffes during the film but after the climax, you are afraid. STD says he’ll be back with a sequel. When that happens, I will be watching the re-runs of Sherlock. I advice you to do the same. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Faheem Ruhani, india today : ...After seeing this film you miss the Rajeev Khandelwal who debuted in the brilliantly made Aamir (2008). Better to watch the more thrilling CID on TV then suffer Samrat and his company.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...I’m all for murder mysteries and brainy sleuths, but this one made me slump in my chair. The biggest mystery remains : when will we get a great one?... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...What is an acclaimed actor like Girish Karnad doing in a film of this kind is the only mystery worth breaking your head over. The rest you will guess even before it happens. - See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/movie-review-samrat--co/15253094#sthash.iK0okWqm.dpuf... full review
Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Mumbai Mirror : ...Driver: Sir, we have arrived at your destination. This was hardly a challenge. I: Easy challenges are like broken pencils, Watson. There is no point.... full review
Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Rajshri Banner should stick to what best they are known for - family dramas. Their effort to make the shift falls flat on its face. Best avoided. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Paloma Sharma, Rediff : ...Samrat & Co might be about an extraordinarily observational man's fight against crime but as far as cinema goes, this film is a crime against the genre.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Perhaps we need to create our original detective characters that don’t suffer from the Sherlock hangover. We’re going to have quite a few detective stories coming this year. Let’s see how they fare... full review
Thumbs down, by Somdatta Sen, Star Blockbuster : ...It’s a franchise in making so before you aim the next one, make sure you research well else would advice Rajshri to stick to family dramas. That’s safe bait.... full review
Thumbs down, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...While it's brave of the conservative Rajshri productions to take the leap - from family dramas to thrillers, the effort should have been more compelling. While Sherlock Holmes was dismissive of mediocrity, Samrat succumbs to it.... full review
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As a Sherlockian, Pradeep, I will probably give this a try anyway - and it's not as if Holmes has been done badly over here, too! (Throws a dart at a picture of Benedict Cumberbatch.)
I'd wondered if India had ever done a desi equivalent of Holmes and Watson - are there any better movies along these lines I should check out?
@TimELiebe: Sherlock is my favourite fictional character of all time. I've read the complete collection over and over and over again. I don't mind adaptations, but this one was quite a travesty!
Off the top of my head there aren't very many good Holmes adaptations here. Can't think of any mediocre ones either. But have you ever watched an old TV series called Byomkesh Bakshi? Not quite Holmes, but definitely India's most famous on screen detective!
@Pradeep - no, I've never heard of BYOMKESH BAKSHI before just now. I'll see if I can't find DVDs of it over here w/English subs - thanks! :)
@TimELiebe - Feluda movies might be of interest to you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feluda_in_film
Thanks, @Swapnil! :)
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but I never get the e-mails that my comments have been replied to....
Lead Actors: 2.5
Character Artists: 2
Music Director: 0
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