You do not want to leave your seat during intermission, fearing that you may miss an important link in the narration. And if you thought you had read the suspense, wait till director Anand L Rai executes the killer punch at the end, which leaves you absolutely flummoxed. This definitely is the best thriller in recent years.
Rai makes excellent use of Black & White at interesting moments during the narration which lends a touch of Hollywood to the film. The script is a winner so is the direction, production values, editing and the performances of all four actors - Kay Kay Menon, Sonali Kulkarni, Jimmy Sheirgill and Nandana Sen.
Two complete Strangers meet while traveling overnight, in a business class compartment in England. Sanjeev Rai (Menon), a successful businessman and Rahul (Sheirgill) a struggling writer begin telling each other their problems. While Rai's wife (Sonali) is close to madness after losing her only son in an accident, thus making life for Rai difficult, Rahul's wife (Nandana) is the one blamed for the breakdown of their marriage. Before the journey ends, they both decide to kill each others' wives.
Kudos to Rai for engrossing the viewer with simple, stylish narration. Slowly, he unravels the mystery, layer by layer, taking the viewer by surprise. He makes excellent use of flashback to keep the viewer guessing. STRANGERS is an excellent narration of love, marriage, deceit, betrayal and murder. Rai is supported by Sanjay Sankla who makes deft use of the scissors to give the film that thrilling edge with his slick editing. Flawless. Manoj Gupta with his super cinematography captures the mood of the moment as well as the beauty of London which gives the movie the complete look.
Now for the acting; Kay Kay Menon as the troubled husband, who has to live with his lamenting wife, and whose idea is to kill, is first rate. But, to be honest, he has been overshadowed by the flamboyance of Jimmy Sheirgill who is improving with every outing. As the doubting husband, and a flop writer, who worries that his wife is sleeping around, Jimmy is simply marvelous. Nandana Sen as the troubled wife who is accused of being a 'loose' woman is a revelation. She puts in that extra something in every scene that adds to her character. Sonali Kulkarni has a brief role, but it is enough for her to stamp her class. Sometimes, all you need is one scene to make an impact. As a mother always yearning for her dead son, who drives her husband up the wall, she leaves her mark. In the end, as a viewer, you are in such a vulnerable position, that you do not know which of the four characters to feel sorry for! This again is thanks to Rai's handling of the cast, and treating each character with respect.
To go or not: Absolutely. This is a must watch for every lover of thriller. Sadly, even though this is a first rate movie, the same cannot be said of the marketing. It will find its audience in the Metros.