‘Rautu Ka Raaz’ Zee5 Global Review: Small-Town Investigative Thriller Is Bland And Slightly Confused

Zee5 Global has been churning out many new Hindi and regional movies and shows tackling various subjects that diverge from cliché storytelling. Just a while back, the Telugu show Paruvu tackled the topic of the caste system. The Hindi romantic movie Luv Ki Arranged Marriage was about letting parents have a moment of love. Rautu Ka Raaz is another investigative thriller from Hindi cinema, directed by Anand Surapur. The movie was released on June 28, 2024, on Zee5 Global.

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Rautu Ka Raaz has a runtime of less than two-hours, which is commendable. Many movies, especially in Hindi cinema, tend to cross the two-hour mark with nothing to offer to keep you there. Rautu Ka Raaz is a simple film set in the hills of Uttarakhand, where a murder has taken place inside a school for the blind. The warden Sangeeta Devi is found dead, and it sends shockwaves and a sense of terror through the small town. Deepak Negi, the local police officer, is initially under the impression that the case is an open and shut one as the people working in the school are passing off the death as natural. The autopsy results give away the fact that the death was unnatural, which forces Deepak and his team to begin an investigation. Many unpleasant revelations come out throughout the investigation that could threaten the careers and lives of many. Who killed Sangeeta Devi, and why, is the question. Was the school for the blind involved in a scam?

We have to give it to the writer and director for creating an accurate picture of what happens in small towns in India and how the community in such places is close-knit. Everyone knows everybody, and that could be the obstacle in light of the murder of a known woman. The writers, however, are not sure whether to present this movie as a comedic investigative thriller or a serious drama that has a connection with the matters of school for the blind. The story is interesting, but it is the lack of emotion and depth in the narrative that makes Rautu Ka Raaz a tad bit slow. The writing is slow and does not grow on the viewer as the investigation in the film progresses. There is no sense of interest or engagement generated in the writing for the audience to remain glued to a story as interesting as this one. Any small-town story has a local administrative angle where people are after the real estate and the ones in this one are heartless, for they do not care for the visually challenged people. The film is short, yet it takes a lot of time and wanders around without any conclusion in sight. 

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An investigative thriller is supposed to generate suspense, but in the case of Rautu Ka Raaz, the movie had all the potential to become an interesting small-town story by making the screenplay tighter. The edge-of-the-seat quality is missing from the film, and it no longer creates a sense of fear or eeriness. There is a mention of the possibility of the involvement of the real estate mafia, and that could have been put to use creating an atmosphere of fear amongst the investigation team, but the makers this time lost the opportunity. The screenplay is sadly bland, devoid of any layers and complexity making this investigation thriller anything but interesting. The dark humor in the movie does not land well, and it only adds to the agony. We could understand what the makers were trying to do, but in their pursuit, it threw the audience into a land of confusion as to what the makers were trying to imply. There are many scenes that use CGI to showcase the fact that the actors are at that point in the small town. Sadly, the CGI comes off as tacky. The shoddiness is full on display, which makes the film slightly unbearable after a point. 

The end of the film is also slightly bizarre, as it came out of nowhere. The lead-up was such that the climax revealed the tension created by Deepak Negi’s character. It is common to watch such blunders happen in Hindi films that tackle the investigation drama genre. The makers do not know how to live up to the hype created in the narrative. There needed to be more information on how the police officer figured out who the accused is. The subplot involving Deepak Negi and the love of his life is simply not required, and those scenes are not seamlessly blended into the original plotline of the film. The lack of seamless integration of other subplots in the show is the reason why the film does not work despite having a good story. There is intent but the screenplay lacks sensitivity. There is also the issue of certain characters being fat shamed, which comes off as being in poor taste and not required, keeping in mind how impressionable audiences are. There are major faux pas, such as police officers touching the evidence at the scene of a crime without gloves, which is a no-no. 

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There are only a few aspects that stood out: the two sutradhars of the town, who act as people of the small town who love to gossip and at times spread false news as well. They represent small-town India, as people in such places are found to be each other’s solace, and the gossip travels very fast. The concept was sound, but their presence did not add anything useful to the narrative.  The makers have discussed child molestation and treating blind kids as normal children, which is commendable. Not many speak about how teachers as strict figures play an important role in killing the interaction between the children of two sexes. This concern had to be brought to light as teachers and parents tend to overreact in such cases, and it only begins to hurt children and shape their attitudes toward relationships. The writers also, for a short time, focus on the state of the police officers in small-town India, where they lack basic facilities in the wake of a murder. 

The direction by Anand Surapur is not that great, as there are many awkward scenes that only add to the misery. Better direction could have saved a middling narrative, but the filmmaker failed to see the film as having an interesting premise. It is the performances in the film that somehow salvage it to a certain extent. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is excellent in parts, but in most places, it seems he is sleepwalking through scenes and delivering lines without any sense of depth or shock. Nawazuddin is a great actor, but he deserves better films that showcase his dazzling personality and acting prowess. It seems that the actor is lost somewhere, as many of his recent films may not have fared well. Rajesh Sharma, as the subordinate police officer, has nothing to offer when it comes to his portrayal of the character who is lazy yet trying to find answers. This is the case of a classic middle-class man who is trying to fulfill his goals for his family. Atul Tiwari, as Manoj Kesari, who is a usual suspect, is brilliant as the man who may have made mistakes and paid for them as the murder of his colleagues takes place. 

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Rautu Ka Raaz could have been a good watch if only the makers were not confused as to what they wanted to convey. 


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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