The trailer of Wrong Side Raju — the Gujarati thriller produced by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikah Bahl et al's Phantom Films — was released on 17 August. And from the little that we've seen of it, Wrong Side Raju promises a pretty gripping ride.
The trailer of the film evokes memories of the 2013 BMW hit-and-run case in Gujarat.
Ahmedabad resident Vismay Shah, the 20-something son of a reputed eye surgeon, was driving his BMW at high speed on the roads late at night, when he rammed into a scooter. This was in February 2013.
The driver of the scooter, an engineering student called Shivam Dave, died on the spot. His friend Rahul Patel, who was riding pillion, was also killed. Both were in their early 20s.
A high profile court case ensued, during which — in an eerie similarity with the Salman Khan 2012 hit-and-run case — Shah's defense argued that it was the driver employed by the family who was at the wheel of the car that night, not Shah himself.
But a witness — a friend of the victims who had also been travelling alongside — refuted this: He said the man who emerged from the car had spoken in English, and was very well-dressed. The testimony helped convict Shah, who was sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the Ahmedabad court in 2015.
Wrong Side Raju's plot picks up on several of these points, but with an essential twist: It narrates the story from the perspective of the hapless driver, who is being presented as the scapegoat for a hit-and-run his boss has committed. He is the Raju (Pratik Gandhi) of the title, a charming if average young man, with a higher-than-average aptitude for jugaad.
He juggles several jobs and business ventures, trying to make it big.
Enter Shaily — the Caucasian girlfriend of his boss Tanmay (Kavi Shastri). Raju falls in love, he wants to make it big so he can be worthy of Shaily (Kimberley Louisa McBeath).
To add to his problems, Tanmay's father has named Raju as the person who was driving the car the night the accident transpired; the impression one has is that Raju has been promised a whole lot of money for being the fall guy.
But with a suspicious police officer on the case unwilling to buy the story he's being told, the outcome of the case is anything but certain.
The trailer seems to indicate that Wrong Side Raju will have sub-titles, which should help this Gujarati film reach wider audiences.
And going by the trailer, that will be a very good thing.
Wrong Side Raju is co-produced by CineMan productions, and is directed by Mikhil Musale.