Generally speaking, a film starring relative newcomers and helmed by a first-time director comes with zilch expectations. And if the film in question happens to be a suspense-thriller, the debutante director has to walk a tight rope. One false step and chances are he’d fall on his face. Debutante director Shawn Arranha surprises you in his very first outing. It may not be the most captivating thriller you’ve watched, but there are moments that keep you hooked to the proceedings. Also, a suspense saga works if you continue to play the guessing game till the end and in this case, you can’t tell who the culprit is. That is nothing short of a victory for this film! On the flip side, the making could’ve been better in terms of production values and at times, it does give an impression of being a rushed job as far as the writing is concerned. Love slasher movies? Watch HIDE & SEEK. It has ample adrenaline pumping moments! They were kids – Om, Abhi, Jaideep, Imran, Gunita and Jyotika. And it all started as a game on a chilly Christmas night. But little did they expect that night that the game would change their lives forever. Twelve years later, while some still wrestled with memories of that fateful night and others left it buried deep within them, it was a past that came back to haunt them again. Twelve years later, someone was bringing them all together. To play that game all over again. Six best friends turn into worst enemies when trapped in a shopping mall. If you let logic take a backseat, chances are you’d enjoy this ride more. Just don’t question how one person, single-handedly, kidnaps his friends the same night and assembles them at one location, without any help whatsoever. If you skip this gaffe, the journey ahead would be riveting in most parts. It takes time to get used to the plot. It does get confusing when the film goes back and forth with regularity and you wonder, what is the director trying to say? But the jigsaw puzzle slowly gets solved in the post-interval portions, although the end sends out confusing signals. In view of the fact that it is his first film, Shawn does a commendable job. Only thing, he should’ve simplified a few things, especially the end. The songs are okay, while the camerawork lacks finesse.The performances by the lead actors are neat, with every member putting his/her best foot forward. Purab Kohli is super-efficient, as always. Arjan Bajwa gets the look and feel of the character right. Samir Kochhar leaves a strong impact. Ayaz Khan is decent. Mrinalini Sharma springs a pleasant surprise with a ‘spirited’ performance. Amruta Patki impresses as well.
On the whole, HIDE & SEEK is a gripping suspense drama that keeps you guessing till its end. Go for it, if a good suspense thriller is what you’re looking at!