Vadh review: Is there such a thing as a perfect crime and can only a seasoned criminal cleverly hide the evidence? Not in Vadh. The perpetrator in this gritty thriller is a humble, helpless and retired teacher, Shambhunath Mishra (Sanjay Mishra), trying to make ends meet while paying off a debt. The loan shark, Prajapati Pandey (Sumit Sachdeva), will have his pound of flesh — he uses the pure vegetarian family’s house to drink, eat meat, and bring women, leaving Shambhunath and his wife Manju (Neena Gupta) to clean up after him.
Shambhunath quietly tolerates humiliation, by his young neighbour, Prajapati, and his entitled son, Diwakar Mishra aka Guddu (Diwakar Kumar), every time he tries asking him for money. But when Prajapati pushes him into a corner, the teacher takes his life. What follows is the simple man meticulously getting rid of the evidence while facing his wife’s disappointment with him.
The story does not end here. There’s also a corrupt cop, Shakti Singh (Manag Vij) who wants something from Prajapati, which only he knows the whereabouts of. So, he has eyes on Shambhunath and will prove his crime at any cost.
Director-writer duo Jaspal Singh Sandhu (who makes a cameo appearance) and Rajeev Barnwal’s outing is an interesting crossover between small-town, slice-of-life cinema and edgy thriller. The Mishras’ world and struggles are relatable, which Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta’s powerful performances enhance. Sanjay as a loving and progressive man, crumbling down but putting up a brave front, is stellar; especially when he pivots into action. Saurabh Sachdeva evokes disgust and terror, and plays his part outstandingly. Manav Vij’s Shakti Singh is an intriguing character, who’s corrupt yet not completely evil.
From the bylanes of Gwalior to big forts and historical places, Sapan Narula’s cinematography is commendable, as is the background music. The scene when Shambhunath discards the body will send chills down your spine, as the sound has been skilfully used, without the need to show any gory scenes.
The film has nuances that will need you to stay sharp while viewing. For instance, pay attention to the dialogue and the props in the scene when a rat escapes the live-catch mousetrap, which Shambhunath replaces with a spring-loaded one. You will see the parallels between that sequence and Prajapati being slayed.
After a point, the first half gets slow at points and Prajapati harassing the couple could have been shorter. But the second half is thrilling to the core.
Those who like realistic cinema and thrillers will have a great viewing experience.