It is debatable whether it is fair to compare a remake to the source material. We would answer that the basis of the story’s green light is its prior success with a different audience. “HIT The First Case” was originally a 2020 Telugu-language film, which, while a commercial success, was average at best. But manufacturers seem to have conveniently overlooked this last quality. We have to ask ourselves the following question: is there really a dearth of commercially viable new ideas in the industry that even marginally successful films are seen as the only way to attract box office numbers?
When someone watches content, a constant state of review is always in mind. When we discuss it with our friends later on, it’s quite common to hear, “oh, they should have done that instead”, “but that subplot was so unnecessary”, “how did that produced so quickly after that?” and other things. But there’s a huge difference between spotting a story’s flaws and setting out to fix them. Films are made for the public, and it is their right to criticize. But it’s a whole other mindset that mends those criticisms while still staying true to history. “HIT The First Case” fails in the latter department.
The creators certainly made some changes to the original storyline. But that didn’t make it better. Rajkumar Rao was the film’s only saving grace, and he clearly put his heart and soul into it. The rest of the cast was extremely underutilized. The film told how Vikram, a tortured cop, solves the case of a missing girl. In executing the concept, they made it a one man show. Which unfortunately set the entire film in a unique tone, that of one person’s sheer frustration, unable to solve a case. How to justify a duration of 2 hours with a single emotion? And can we just say that the romantic song at the beginning of the film, although pleasant to hear, was extremely forced? His sole purpose was to convey to the public Vikram’s anguish as he set out to solve the case. Can we just say we’re tired of seeing violence against women used as a mere tool to bring out the heroism of men on screen? It is one of the most secretive ways of entrenching sexism in Indian cinema.
The problem with watching a thriller or thriller is that you have to see the mystery gradually unravel on screen. Traces of it may be a wild goose chase, but not all of it. The makers missed this in their memo. Early on, Vikram finds no clue that could be considered a good lead. It’s deadlock after deadlock, so ultimately when the case is solved, it’s not because everything falls into place, but because he saw this thing that did it for him. Not to think about how cases are solved in real life, but this route meant audiences were never really hooked. There was no buildup, no investment, no theories that the public could come up with, and absolutely no interest in knowing what happened next. Not to mention that the ending was so absurd; how did anyone think it was good to go ahead with this?
And coming to the character of Vikram himself, giving credit where credit is due, the creators have done a good job of portraying how PTSD plays out, with the slightest trigger sending them into a spiral. Bollywood has mostly gone bad with the portrayal of sanity, but they seem to be right. We have one thing to add – in his role as a tortured cop, he says at one point that it’s his job that saves him. We would like this question answered. How does his job help him run away from his demons? Why is he determined to stay at his job when he knows how much his job affects him? Having him answer those questions would have been a great service to cinema for this overused trope of the brilliant cop who can’t get over the death of a loved one.
To put it simply, it was one of the most pointless remakes. He didn’t add anything to his source material, but he didn’t seriously take anything away from it either. And unlike other remakes, which are digestible even if average, “HIT The First Case” fails because the story is already something done to death across regions and languages - brilliant cop but tortured, solving a seemingly unsolvable case. How did the script room not see this? And this is our biggest disappointment. A remake should be a smarter, more refined version of its parent, not a carelessly modified replica. “Hit The First Case”, if it is to be watched, is best viewed when it comes to an OTT platform, rather than spending money in a theater for it.