I usually do not miss out on Hindi content even if they have a theatrical release. However, there was this one film titled Operation Romeo which I had missed out on during its limited theatrical release. An official adaptation of the Malayalam film Ishq, the film had big boots to fill in. As a preparation for Operation Romeo, I had watched Ishq the same week and was absolutely blown over by the film. It was thrilling and real and moreover the film had an ending for the ages which wrapped up all the toxic masculinity and literally showed every man a mirror. That ending was perhaps the best ending which I had witnessed in the last two years. So the makers of Operation Romeo had a huge task ahead of them. Now that the film premiered on Netflix yesterday, I happened to watch it. Does Operation Romeo manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
An official Hindi adaptation of the original Malayalam film Ishq, Operation Romeo follows the story of a young couple who are harassed by a couple of men on a lonely night. The story is good and what I liked about this Hindi adaptation was that they have changed the setting to Mumbai which was a good start to the show. The screenplay at 135 minutes meant that the drama was crisp and did not waste any time in getting to the point.
The screenplay opens on a good note where you are introduced to the two main protagonists much like the Malayalam version. But the tricky portion was yet to come. In the original Malayalam version, when the main event begins there is an uncomfortable atmosphere which is built up in a terrifying sequence filled with tension. But sadly here, the tension in the first half just goes missing. I wouldn’t attribute it to me knowing what was going to happen next as it is a prerogative of the writers to pen an engaging screenplay. It just lacked that kind of intimidation which was brought out so well in the Malayalam version. Although the sequence wasn’t bad and it was very watchable but it seemed a watered down version of the original.
Just when I thought things were heading South, the second half does manage to pull things back. Ishq if you remember was a revenge story spread across two halves – and both were intriguing in their own way. Operation Romeo manages to find the much needed momentum in the second hour where the tension is built-up nicely in the house. With one thing leading to another, the proceedings were interesting(although I most definitely knew what was coming my way), and it definitely added to the drama. The final act which was memorable in Ishq is also decently well done here. It was only the tricky first hour where the film falters summing up a decently well penned screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are fairly well written and that flavour of Mumbai in the conversations were evident. The music was a bit of a letdown, this film deserved a better music and also the BGM which was unimaginative and played a role in watering down the drama. The cinematography is good. Director Shashant Shah does a good job here although he fails to stir up the tension in the first hour. But having said that, he redeems himself well in the second hour making me believe that his craft has more positives than negatives.
The performances are pretty good. Vedika Pinto as Neha makes an impressive debut here and I really wish to watch more of her going forward. Bhumika Chawla as Mangesh’s wife does a fine job as well and she has a lovely screen presence. Kishore Kadam is good but could have been better. Sharad Kelkar as Mangesh is again good but a part of me said that he might be restricting himself unlike Shine Tom Chacko in the original. He is less intimidating and he could have possibly pushed the envelope a little more to raise the stakes further. Sidhant does a fine job here especially in the second hour. If anything he could work ever so slightly on his expressions but it was a job well done although well short of the performance of Shane Nigam who had a little more innocence to him.
Operation Romeo is a promising adaptation(I say promising as this adaptation was not easy to recreate) of the Original Malayalam film. This can be watched if you haven’t watched the original yet(on Prime). Available on Netflix.