The movie builds up its characters very well and soars up to intense moments but then falls flat, and the intensity is short-lived. The transformation of the lead actor could have used more screen time
Shadow Assassins, a Hindi feature film released in theatres today, is set on the backdrop of some true events that rocked Assam from 1998 to 2001.
The movie depicts the dark days of the Secret Killings (Gupta Hotya) that terrorised every Assamese for these four years.
The story revolves around a promising young man who comes home from Pune on a semester break. A happy-go-lucky person, he has everything he needs, from a loving and caring family to an understanding girlfriend. But fate has other plans for him, and he soon becomes a victim of the "terror reign" of the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam), which leads him to a path of vengeance.
Shadow Assassins can be categorised as a commercial and a parallel cinema that falls in the crime-drama genre of filmmaking.
Directed by national award-winning director Nilaanjan Reeta Datta, known for movies like The Head Hunter and Gopal Mayajaal, it is produced by Siddharth Mahajan, Anil Goswami, Rahul Kapoor, Navnita Sen, Shitiz Jain, and Nijaanjan Reeta Datta under the banners of Finchbill Motion Pictures.
Anurag Sinha and Mishti Chakravarty have been cast in the leading roles.
Sinha shines as the protagonist Nirbhay Kalita and he skillfully delivers an impeccable and unflinching performance.
Chakravarty, as Rimli, also gives a commendable performance.
The supporting cast includes Hemant Kher, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om, Monuj Borkotoky, and Akash Sinha. They have all done a decent job portraying their respective characters.
The direction of the movie is tight. The screenplay is simple, albeit not ordinary. The cinematography does justice to the scenes.
Because the film is set in Assam, the nuances of the Hindi language have been delicately balanced.
Datta says that the movie is made in Hindi to reach a wider audience and not just be shown at award ceremonies.
The music of Ashu Chakraborty is commendable. The movie features two songs. The first song, Zubeen Garg's Kabhi Dhoop Kabhi Chhaon, is a simple and soft melodic number that transitions between two related events.
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The second song, Aas Ka Sooraj by Javed Ali, plays as the credits roll and gives you chills.
The background music enhances the emotions of the gripping moments of the film.
The movie builds up its characters very well and soars up to intense moments but then falls flat, and the intensity is short-lived. The transformation of the lead actor could have used more screen time.
The dialogues between and among the characters are typical and could have been a touch better, bolder, and more innovative.
Finally, the social and political aspects of the events shown maintain a periphery that is too narrow for its subject matter. I loved the subtle inclusion of Bhot Jolokia, though.
To sum up, Shadow Assassins is a sincere effort to tell tales from the pages of Assam's darkest and bloodiest history. However, the darkness wasn't dark enough, and the tales retold were half-baked.
The narrative could have had a deeper, more in-depth analysis if the makers intended to take the secrets of Secret Killings of Assam to a broader audience.
If I leave aside the history and consider it to be any fictitious story, this is an enjoyable movie.
PS: Why does an acoustic guitar always substitute for an electric guitar in our movie songs?
Mahesh 'Karan' Prasad is an engineer by education and an aspiring musician by passion, who also has a knack of writing on music and movies. Having written around a 50 songs, Mahesh has composed and recorded around 10 songs. He wishes to create meaningful and soulful music.