The first case is a faithful adaptation of a crime thriller of the same name directed in Telugu by the same director in 2020. Somewhere in Rajasthan, a young woman disappears. Several suspects arise as we progress. Was it a helpful cop who stopped to offer her a ride as she stood next to her broken down car? Or a classmate who first pretends ignorance and then shows he might know more? Or a pretentious university official? The case is assigned to Vikram, a brilliant HIT (Homicide Intervention Team) officer, who has a bad case of tremors from unresolved trauma (are there others?), and a determination to go ahead anyway.
The original film overcame some of its storytelling shortcomings as it felt geographically together. In this adaptation, the police procedural aspect is intact, but the locations are everywhere. The macabre end of a young woman that Vikram is forced to witness, unable to do anything about it, is set somewhere in the mountains. Where is this place? Why are they both here? Who are the authors ? Why do they do what they do? Missing details add nothing to the mystery; they feel like lazy loose ends.
Vikram and a close colleague show up at the crime scene where a body is buried. It is a large wooded area. The sharp-eyed Vikram sees something everyone else has missed, and, look, look, they find it! We are never told the secret of his prescience, just as we don’t know anything about his girlfriend (Sanya Malhotra), an ace forensic scientist, except that she has disappeared. Are the two missing girls related? Vikram is constantly at odds with a colleague who constantly sneers. Why?
Somewhere in this rambling tale lurks an intriguing mystery, but it gets lost in the lackluster narrative and shallow characterization. As the layers are peeled away, the backstory of the first missing girl begins to come to the surface. It’s about an orphanage, an envious best friend and adoptive parents, accomplices or not. The boss (Dalip Tahil) of HIT, shows up from time to time to wave Vikram when he breaks the rules, which is often the case. What good is a conflicted detective if he’s not skating near the wind?
Malhotra is overlooked simply because the script forgets she’s there for the most part before sending her into oblivion. Shukla, playing a character who seeks attention by pretending to know more than she does, gets screen time but no convictions.
And Rajkummar Rao, whose very competent shoulders are used to rest this film, and who is more than willing to wade through its marshy sands, is left hanging: what can an actor do if it’s written so bumpily?
Cast of HIT movie The First Case: Rajkummar Rao, Sanya Malhotra, Shilpa Shukla, Dalip Tahil, Milind Gunaji
Director of the HIT movie The First Case: Sailesh Kolanu
HIT Movie The First Case Rating: 1.5 stars