Barun Sobti, Sachin Khedekar, Purnendu Bhattacharya, Manu Rishi Chadha
Halahal (हलाहल) is the name of poison as per Hindu mythology created from the sea when Devas (Deities) and Asuras (Demons) churned it at the time of Samudra Manthan in order to obtain Amrit, the nectar of immortality. Fourteen different Ratnas were recovered in this exercise, mostly retained by the Deities after the Demons tried to cheat them. But before Amrit could be formed, Halahala was produced, which started injuring both sides. As no one could bear the lethal fumes emitted by the poison, both Devas and Asuras began to collapse due to asphyxiation. They ran for help to Brahma who refused and advised them that only Shiva could help them. So both parties went to Mount Kailash and prayed to Lord Shiva for help. Shiva chose to consume the poison and thus drank it.
So now you are thinking about what is the connection between the Samudra Manthan incident with this film. Well, you have to watch this worthwhile film to get your answer. It is not the first time when Hindi mythology stories are taken as inspiration by filmmakers to justify their narration style. Whether it was Sacred Games, Asur or Paatal Lok and now with Halahal it is proved that if a writer wants to precise the crux of any film or series, taking reference from the mythology is the pertinent method. The education system in India is one of the most predominant but most corrupt institutions of society. Eros now 'Halahal' also reflects a thin line between the education system and corrupt education institutions. The movie is loosely based on the Vyapam Scam that was found out in 2013.
The story begins with a chasing scene on the Ghaziabad highway where Archana Sharma who is a medical student and a medical teacher at Ace Coaching Academy is trying to save Ashish (Chetan Sharma) who is running from goons but while crossing the highway with Ashish, she got hit by a truck. After her accident, Ashish runs away and after finding her dead, goons char her body. Later on, the story cuts to Dr. Shiv Sharma (Sachin Khedekar) clinic where a politician requests him to leave the clinic property but meanwhile, Dr. Shiv gets a call from Ghaziabad police that his daughter Archana has committed suicide. When he reaches the police station, Archana's father doubts the suicide theory and believes after several revelations that she has been murdered and goes to investigate it by his own, in the meantime, he takes help from police inspector Yusuf (Barun Sobti), who is a corrupt police officer and can go to any extent for money. This police-doctor duo team tries their best to find out the truth behind Archana's murder but things get more complicated when only eye-witness Ashish got killed. So if you want to unleash the real truth behind Archana's death, then you have to watch this brilliant piece of writing that will unfold the red-tape corruption system of our very own famous educational system.
Randeep Kumar Jha who is an actor and assistant director by profession is known for working on multiple film projects and with Halahal he has helmed the director seat. After his short film Kartaa, Halahal is his second directorial venture and as a director, Randeep has brilliantly showcased his directing skills and gave a fast-paced storyline. Whether it was a chase scene on Bathinda roads or well-executed investigation shots, along with seriousness the film also makes you laugh in a few scenes too.
The film has been written by Zeishan Quadri, who is known for writing screenplay for films like Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2, Hotel Milan. The story is tremendously written by Quadri and looks quite realistic, as you can't predict the hero or villain in the whole film. The storyline keeps you hooked with each passing scene. On the editing front, Nitesh Bhatia has sharply dealt with the department, as to make any film or series successful, editing acts as a standalone warrior. While watching it, you wouldn't feel bored or think about the stretched plotline.
Arka Ghosh sound design is one of the major aspects of Halahal as there is one scene in the film, where Yusuf and Dr. Shiv reach the government IT office. Must have to say, that Arka perfectly designed the background score with dripping coins sound, typewriter clicks, footsteps sound that excellently blends with the ongoing scenario.
Talking about the performances, then we have Sachin Khedekar on one side and Barun Sobti on the other side. Sachin Khedekar who is known for his impeccable performances has once again marked his presence with his intensity on screen. As the actor has perfectly portrayed the role of the grief-stricken, agonizing father who sets out to get to the bottom of the pit and avenge the death of his daughter. More about Barun, then after Asur, the actor has proved that he is the ultimate choice for Yusuf. The actor has exemplarily transformed from a corrupted cop into a justice-seeking policeman. Apart from them, Manu Rishi Chadha is not less than a surprise package in the film, who did justice with his role, although it is better not to reveal anything about his role. So let's not spoil much about him. Purnendu Bhattacharya has also performed well in the role of Dean Acharya. The rest of the star cast has also contributed their part equally in making the film more understandable and engaging.
More about the underwhelming aspects then, in the second half, you will feel, the writer needs to work on a few characters that would help the film to fill some loopholes. Overall the film is great to watch if you are a lover of crime-thrillers.
All in all, the film has highlighted the 2013 Vyapam Scam while taking the reference of the education system. Overall, Halahal is a bitter sip even if you do not want it, but you have to take it down via your throat. Barun's character dialogue will surely bring a smile on your face who always reaches the crime incident and passes a sarcastic remark to his senior inspector, 'Filmo Ne Hi Naam Kharab Kar Rakha Hai, Hum Toh Time Se Hi Aaate Hain Waise'. Well, this 90 minutes film is not going to waste your precious time, and even after watching the film, if you don't feel satisfied with the ending then remember even Lord Shiva had to drink the poison to obtain Amrit.