In the pantheon of crime thrillers, writer-director Sailesh Kolanu’s second film in the HITverse is a real killer.
By Mayur Lookhar
He is out for his morning jog, when he receives a call from his colleague. As luck would have it, the crime scene is not too far away. Krishna Dev [Adivi Sesh], HIT [Homicidal Intervention Team] officer jogs his way to the crime scene. KD, as he is popularly called, bumps into the journalists first.
After demeaning the media, the HIT man then dials the deceased man’s brother who rushes to the Vizag shore. The man is bawling but it all looks fake.
“I informed you that your brother is murdered. I never disclosed the location. How did you land here then?” a calm KD informs big brother. The nervy man claims that he saw it in the news bulletin, to which KD replies, “But as instructed by me, no news channel has got close to the crime scene, they haven’t broadcast anything yet. Look, there were 22 calls between you and your brother. So, tell me why did you kill him?” An instant forensic check of his palms reveal blood stains. Big brother has no way to hide.
As he heads back, KD is quizzed by the media as to how he could solve the case within five minutes upon his arrival? The officer smiles and says cockily, “Most of these criminals are dumb.” KD signs off not before mocking the journalists by asking his colleague to ensure that the media doesn’t leave without tea.
He clearly has a dislike for media. The Adivi Sesh, who we [Mumbai media] met twice, is a darling of the media. It pained to see his character KD mock the media as mere nuisance, and freeloaders. Can such a cocky man be fit to solve a mysterious murder case?
We’ve seen the Hindi remake of HIT: The First Case  but not the original Telugu film. All three films have been written and directed by Sailesh Kolanu. There are references to Vikram Rudraraju [Vishwak Sen] but we can’t tell whether certain elements from the first film have relevance to the murder mystery in HIT: The Second Case .
Sanjana, a Social bar employee, is murdered in a brutal way. Head, hands, torso, limbs. KD and co are stunned to find Sanjana’s chopped off parts placed in order. Subsequent investigation complicates the case as KD and his team learn that the head belonged to Sanjana, but each of the other parts belonged to other victims. Phew, we have a psycho killer on the loose.
The brutal visuals drew our attention to actor, self-proclaimed critic Kamaal Rashid Khan. The controversial, motormouth is restrained by the court to not defame Bollywood star Salman Khan. In order to avoid future legal trouble, KRK doesn’t name Khan. He simply addresses him as ‘budhao’ (old man). He hilariously referred to Khan’s last release Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan  as Kisi Ka Haath Kisi Ki Tang. Phew, who would have thought that his jibe is a brutal reel-ity in the Adivi Sesh film.
A suspect is nailed. KD, his boss, police force, and the junta is all happy that the serial killer is nabbed and killed in encounter. Moments before the encounter, KD gets evidence that the suspect is not the real killer. His endless calls to the ‘encounter specialists’ go unanswered. The top brass of Vizag police too is drinking with the opportunist politician waiting to hear the news of the successful encounter. Every second is precious. A desperate KD dials who else, but the same TV news reporter [played by Posani Krishna Murali] to prevent an innocent man being shot down. Ab aaya unth pahad ke neeche, the media would say. It’s a different KD that we see from hereon. The killer is going to target his wife Aarya [Meenakshii Chaudhary]. KD must soon unmask the identity of the killer or lose his pregnant wife and their unborn.
Sailesh Kolanu doles out another thrilling, gripping screenplay that keeps you on tenterhooks throughout its near two-hour duration. You’re left in a limbo about the true face/identity of the killer. The Second Case has all the elements of a highly engaging crime thriller saga. The motive adds a psychological element to the Telugu crime thriller.
As a journalist, we weren’t quite pleased with KD’s early cocky attitude. He mocks media, even dares to disobey his superior – DGP Nageswar Rao [Rao Ramesh]. For an overtly confident guy, how could KD not fathom a crucial aspect in the Sanjana murder case? That could have saved Raghavudu the ignominy of being labelled a murderer. You can’t fault Adivi though for the intense, strong performance. Once he is on the right trail, there is no stopping KD. Sesh comfortably slips into the skin of his character. This reviewer has watched only the second Adivi Sesh film, but this HIT showing proves why he is rated highly not just as an action star, but a versatile actor.
Sesh’s intensity is matched by other actors. In a crime thriller, the female protagonist often ends up as a prop. Meenakshii’s Aarya though is the face of women’s right’s group organization. The Aarya-KD romance has a liberal flavor where the girl agrees to live-in with the cop. Mother isn’t pleased. She slams KD questioning him, “Who gave you the permission to live-in with my daughter? The man assures the lady that he didn’t force her daughter. Mom isn’t all too pleased after learning that her unmarried daughter is pregnant. This only accelerates their marriage. Chaudhary is fine in her effort as the humble Aarya.
The other member in this little family is Max, the German Shepherd, who is as loyal as one can get. Come the crisis hour, it’s Max who is the real hero.
You are taken aback by the identity of the real killer. Once the mask is off, you see the monster in him/her. The thrilling finale action is brutal, full of tension making you sweat for the wellbeing of the protagonists. The final conversation with the killer is a real smart one as it helps KD to buy some more time. Let’s just say the killer puts up a killer show. S/he was brutal in her/his acts, the final busted face of the killer reveals the devil in him/her.
You feel for Komalee Prasad’s Varsha, who is often mocked by KD. At one moment, you suspect maybe she is the one playing games with KD. Despite her reporting officer not rating her much, Varsha doesn’t let that hinder her sense of justice, probe.
The Second Case shines for its thrilling story, screenplay, smart dialogues and the astute direction of Kolanu. The director builds a fine narrative laced with twists and turns that every potboiler must possess. Though a deft crime thriller, Kolanu’s film also subtly condemns public, media trial and celebration of police encounters. Perhaps Bollywood should learn this from their Southern counterparts.
Kolanu is blessed to have a maverick cinematographer like S. Manikandan. He captured Jaipur-like never before in the Hindi remake – HIT: The First Case . Jaipur and Vizag have their own flavors. He covers Vizag and this Telugu thrilling tale brilliantly. Certain scenes are gory where viewer discretion is advised.
HIT: The Second Case  though ticks most creative and technical boxes. In the pantheon of desi crime thrillers, this HIT: The Second Case certainly takes the cake. The baton has been passed to a super star. HIT fans can’t wait for The Third Case. Before that we have to catch Vishwak Sen’s The First Case .
After a successful theatrical run in the local markets, HIT: The Second Case  is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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