Samay (2003)


Samay (2003)
Cast: Sushmita Sen, Sushant Singh
Director: Robby Grewal
Music Director: Sandeep Chowta
Nutshell: a taut and intelligently made thriller – brilliant debut from Robby Grewal


Robby Grewal’s maiden effort Samay, is a taut and intelligently made thriller, made more in the vein of a Hollywood thriller and devoid of bollywood frills such as songs or a romantic track.

Opeing with Grewal’s homage to the Great Alfred Hitchcock, we have India’s top businessman, Kapil Sharma, watching James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo when suddenly the lights go off. Minutes later, he is murdered and ACP Malvika Chauhan (Sushmita Sen) and her assistant Satya (Sushant Singh) are assigned to the case.

ACP Chauhan is not your stereotypical policewoman but a strong fiercely independent woman of today. She is in charge and her colleagues, all men, respectfully address her as Madam. She is also a single parent and makes time for her daughter, her only respite from work. Malvika finds no fingerprints, no signs of struggle but strangely finds that the murdered has moved two pictures around on the wall. Investigating the crime, she finds that the murdered man’s wife was having an affair with one of his colleagues but she is sure that he is not the culprit.

Another murder is committed and this time, it is a leading film actress, regarded as one of the best in her field. Suspicion falls on one of her co-stars but yet again, going on a gut feeling, Malvika is not convinced that the killer is in fact the co-star but someone else.
Under pressure from the higher authorities, she is coerced into agreeing to issuing arrest warrants for both suspects although she puts forward the theory that she believes the murders to have been committed by the same person which is dismissed by the Commissioner of Police as all he wants is results and that the police are seen to successfully solving the murders. Malivika realises that she is being secretly photographed and upon investigation, lands up at a contract killer’s hideout only to find him murdered and with her pictures strewn around the house.

Malvika realises that the killer is playing a game with her and the police. She finds a thread that runs through the murders and is now convinced that these are not unrelated murders but executed by a serial killer. She now has to race against time to save the next murder from being committed.

Robby Grewal makes a superb new entry into films with a film which will no doubt, sadly find little patronage as it does not conform to typical audiences’ tastes and strives to make an intricate and intelligently knit film without resorting to spoon feed the audience. This is a no holds barred thriller, cleverly executed by Grewal as his focus never deviates from the main plot of the film. His small insights into Malvika’s home life give the film a human touch and break the intensity of the intricate plot. Written also by Grewal, I would comment on one or two irrationalities which simply do not add up…how does the killer telephone Malvika on her mobile from a dead telephone number at the police station. It is here that the writer lets the side down and Hitchcock would never have let something like that happen. You may also feel that the ultimate realisation of the link between the crimes was a little convenient. On a personal level, the climax is utterly shocking.

Sushmita Sen is the soul of the film and she is spectacular in the film. She has a presence which captivates, and has now proved time and time again to be an intelligent actress who given the opportunity, would give all the present lot ruling the roost a run for their money. Hers is an effortless and completely natural performance. Sushant Singh in a supporting role is fine.

Music and cinematography complement the feel of the film. Samay is a must see for all thriller fans. A stunning debut for Robby Grewal.