'Kriti' review: This Shirish Kunder-directed thriller doesn't fall short

Rohini Nair

Jun 23, 2016 14:45:07 IST

The beginning of Kriti — the short film by Shirish Kunder that was released on Wednesday, 22 June — is faintly reminiscent of the hacker drama Mr Robot. Much like Rami Malek’s Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot, we see Manoj Bajpayee’s character Sapan, dressed in a black hoodie (that’s meant to make him seem inconspicuous but has the opposite effect) in a counselling session with his psychiatrist, played by Radhika Apte.

Manoj Bajpayee as Sapan (L); Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in 'Mr Robot'

Manoj Bajpayee as Sapan (L); Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson in 'Mr Robot'

Unlike the neutral environs most psychiatrists prefer to work in, Apte’s character prefers a stark white home that has some bold red artwork positioned just so. She’s also not much of a one for following other clinical conventions — we find out that she isn’t just Sapan’s shrink, she has also been his close friend since childhood.

Sapan tells his doctor that he’s met a woman, a month ago; they ‘clicked’ and she’s moved in with him. Kriti, Sapan’s girlfriend, suffers from agoraphobia (possibly Kunder’s nod to the condition Radhika Apte’s character suffers from in her previous film, Phobia) so she never goes out or meets people. She prefers to stay home and focus on her writing, just like Sapan. She also prefers to stay away from social media.

The psychiatrist’s suspicions are roused — how can there not be a single trace that this woman Sapan claims to be in a relationship with, exists? And then there’s the troubling matter that Sapan has had in childhood as well, a penchant for ‘creating’ friends — figments of his imagination. Is Kriti even real?

Manoj Bajpayee and Radhika Apte play patient-psychiatrist in Shirish Kunder's 'Kriti'

Manoj Bajpayee and Radhika Apte play patient-psychiatrist in Shirish Kunder's 'Kriti'

Kriti, the movie, sets out to explore the question. At just under 19 minutes, you certainly cannot complain about the pace of the film — it keeps the action unrelenting, and consequences unfold quickly. That’s rewarding. With actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Radhika Apte, most of the film is well acted too. Neha Sharma, as Kriti, strikes the rare false note in Kunder’s short film. She’s not entirely convincing, and a few other quibbles such as the over-staging in some of the scenes (Kriti uses a typewriter! Spotlights are positioned just so, over her writing table and Radhika Apte’s couch) and the jarring background score, detract somewhat from the viewing experience.

There are a fair number of twists to keep the viewer engaged, although perhaps, not surprised.

Kunder hasn’t had the best innings as a director (Jaan-E-Man, Joker) so far, but Kriti is striking enough to make us wish that he will return at the helm of a full-length feature film — very, very soon.

Watch Shirish Kunder's Kriti, starring Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte and Neha Sharma. Presented by Muvizz:

Updated Date: Jun 24, 2016 10:19:35 IST