The complexities of the human brain have always perplexed scientists. Per them, the human brain is capable of many superlative feats and the average human uses only 7% of it to perform the daily activities. But what if someone pushes it to do better? Or to that matter, worse? Beginning as a straight ode to the infamous Nithari murder case, director Bugs Bhargava Krishna’s ‘Nail Polish’ is a courtroom drama that delves into the psychological inner levels of the human brain. Starring Arjun Rampal, Manav Kaul, Anand Tiwari and Rajit Kapoor in pivotal roles, it’s a riveting film that compels the viewer to ask the question – who’s responsible for the crime? The mind which insinuated it or the actual body who committed it? 

‘Nail-Polish’ is the story of a man, arrested for a double murder of two children who are also found to be sexually molested, both ante and post mortem. Political bigwigs assign a well-known criminal lawyer to set up the defence against a bumbling government counsel, representing the public. As the legal proceedings continue, a change of facade seems to emerge in the alleged criminal. With a suspicious past and multiple vantage points of the actual event, the rest of the story forms the crux with the man’s actual intent.

Director Krishna is a well-known face in the cinema for his English teacher act in ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) and more recently the theatre professor in Mira Nair’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ (2020). He is also an ad-film maker responsible for the famous soda punch line – Taste The Thunder! When it comes to direction, he’s no novice. Even if the film is his only second directorial venture, yet he rides the wave with the experience of an accomplished auteur, skilfully guiding his actors to the eventual showdown. Mildly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ (1960), the movie questions the intent of the crime, with relationship to the actual mind which had perpetrated it. With a razor-sharp running time of approximately 2 hours, the film moves on a breakneck speed and doesn’t let the viewer relax even for a little bit. Credit must go to director Bugs Bhargava who also is the writer of the film.

The film rides on the able shoulders of Manav Kaul. He plays the main culprit who goes through a sea change of emotions as the legal case proceeds. The role requires a certain finesse as the act delves into the psyche with one person assimilating multiple personalities inside himself. He is ably supported by Arjun Rampal and Anand Tiwari who play the warring lawyers on the opposite side with Rajit Kapur as the judge presiding over the case. The actress Madhu is seen on screen after many years has a minor role to play in the proceedings. With these fine actors in the play, the film becomes a game of one-upmanship between two lawyers over a man who may or may not has been the criminal. The film ends with a nerve-wracking twist that forces the viewer to re-contemplate all the theories that film offers to explain what may have been.

‘Nail-Polish’ is now streaming on Zee5 Premium. Running time of 2 hours and 8 minutes, the film is rated Adult for strong language and alledged sexual violence inside the prison premises.

The Cinemawala Rating: 3/5

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