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House of Lies

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
2 Star popcorn reviewss


We all crave for and enjoy a good whodunnit provided they are done well. But what if uts execution is shoddy? That is exactly that did transpire with the new Hindi film House Of Lies which is streaming on Zee5. I was skeptical and curious both at the same time while venturing into House Of Lies – curious given that it was a whodunnit, and I was expecting to atleast have a good time while guessing the mystery, and skeptical because my gut said that there were a few obstacles related to the budget of the film that would invariably reflect in its execution onscreen. And one look at its overall runtime did slightly affirm my skepticism too. But then does the film manage to spring a surprise, let’s find out.

Story & Screenplay

House Of Lies follows a investigation that is underway following the murder of a wealthy man wherein everyone is a suspect. Who is the ultimate killer forms the rest of the story. The story here definitely has an interesting premise given that it borrows a classic ‘Agatha Christie’ template of the murderer being one amongst the many in the room. And I must say that you can rarely go wrong with this template while just having to ensure an engaging screenplay of sorts. Unfortunately, the screenplay here standing at just 80 minutes(even shorter if you remove the end credits) might be taut but just doesn’t engage you enough to play the guessing game. In fact, the manner in which it is executed is completely devoid of a world building and characterization which is an integral part of a whodunnit. If you don’t connect with the characters and straight away jump on their motives then there is no saving this film. 

The drama wastes no time in straight away jumping to the thick of things which itself was a major flaw to begin with. Whodunnits usually demand a sense of world building to familiarize the viewers with the characters and their hidden motives early on. But to start off with a murder when the viewers are just about getting acquainted with the drama is literally suicide. As a result, the writers were always playing catchup with the viewers even as the investigation officer and his assistants take centerstage by interrogating all the suspects, one by one. It is clear that everyone does have a motive even as the narration oscillates between the past and the present but at no point was I fully invested or engaged in the drama. 

The proceedings here are decent but never really soaring over with its share of highs and lows. The entire wavelength of the investigation is consistently low, and devoid of much twists and turns even as each suspect gives their share of the truth. And this could be attributed to some rather poor execution that was shoddy and didn’t really build on any excitement that was much needed for a narrative like this. And even as a reviewer, it is challenging to pen a review given how the investigation goes around in circles while having nothing new to say. My gripe though was in the final act wherein the grand revelation takes place with all characters under a single roof. That was just so poorly staged that it took out the fun out of the very template that it is known for. Even the twist that followed was also staged poorly that summed up the screenplay that never really took off.


Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are adequate but nothing much to shout about. The music is good and atleast goes well with the vibe of the drama. The BGM is understated but the narrative surprisingly doesn’t use it the way it should have(ideally a haunting theme could have been used through the narrative). The cinematography is decent although the production design remains on the lower side. The editing is taut but doesn’t allow the drama to build on any momentum. Director Saumitra Singh does a rather shoddy job with the execution here. He needed to focus on the world building and characterization but both are heavily missed out on. As a result, the entire investigation is reduced to a cardboard style of narrative that is devoid of any excitement or engagement. And that is the lesson that the director could carried forward in his next outing.


The performances are decent by the ensemble cast here. It was nice spotting Ssmiley Suri after an extended hiatus and she does a pretty decent job. Ajitesh Gupta us fair but the writing doesn’t allow his character to bloom. Mir Sarwar as the doctor is first rate and manages to leave a mark. Hiten Paintal is good in a rather assertive role. Simran Kaur Suri is decent but needed a little more spark and authority tagged to her character. Girish Sharma is excellent and probably the best actor on display here. He is natural to the core while doing so well in reacting to the situation around him, even as the writing around his character remained silly. Rituraj Singh in probably his outing onscreen is decent as well. Sanjay Kapoor as the chief investigating officer is decent and shines in his limited capacity. All other actors are below par and don’t get a chance to bloom due to the substandard writing and execution.


House Of Lies did boast of an interesting premise but a weak screenplay and an even more shoddy execution leads to its downfall. This whodunnit unfortunately fails to leave a mark. Available on Zee5.

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