The official remake of the South Korean film ‘Midnight Runners’, ‘Saakini Daakini’ is directed by Sudheer Varma and stars Regina Cassandra and Nivetha Thomas in the lead.

Saakini Daakini posterSaakini Daakini poster
Flix Review Friday, September 16, 2022 - 18:11
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Remakes often pose a challenge, particularly when remaking a foreign film into an Indian language, in making them palatable to the audience by designing scenes and dialogues according to the local sensibilities. Taking up this challenge, Sudheer Varma has directed Saakini Daakini, the official remake of the South Korean film Midnight Runners. Saakini Daakini stars actors Regina Cassandra and Nivetha Thomas in the main roles. It is interesting that the director has chosen female stars instead of male leads, like in the original.

Shalini (Nivetha) and Damini (Regina) are trainees at the Telangana Police Academy. They are roommates but do not get along. After a brief phase of petty fights, they become close friends. Late one night while returning from a party, they witness the abduction of a young girl. Still trainees and ill-equipped to solve crimes, Shalini and Damini use their limited police training and attempt to trace the abductor and rescue the girl.

The director gets the audience excited with these investigation scenes. However, the fizz dies down soon. It feels like there is no progress in the story and that the plot is moving in the same circle. The comedy in scenes involving Prithviraj and others in the first half, which keeps the film light-hearted, completely misses its mark in the second half. The humour scenes with Nivetha and Regina do not work at all. Sample this: the two are held hostage by goons, and when Regina regains consciousness, she asks: “Where are we?” to which Nivetha responds: “Why? If I tell you the address, will you book an Ola?” The dull screenplay further tests the patience of the audience.

In trying to rescue a kidnapped girl, Shalini and Damini uncover a big racket of criminals who target abandoned girls. But the seriousness of the situation does not really translate on screen and so, does not get the desired impact. This is where the film fails. Adding to this, the director seems unsure whether he wants the film to be serious or a comedy, and finally we get an underwhelming climax.

The writing also is confusing. If Shalini never wanted to become a police officer, why did she apply in the first place? That too when she is shown to be lazy and lacking discipline. Similarly, in a scene at the police academy, Damini injures herself during the training and is unable to complete the running task. None of her fellow trainees help her. But Damini, who does not have a good relationship with Shalini, pleads with her for help. It is unclear why Damini wants to complete the rest of the three-month training when she has no interest in being a police officer. In another scene, based on the medical evidence recovered at the crime scene, Damini deduces with a simple Google search why the kidnappers are abducting young girls and what they intend to do with them. After learning this, she breaks down, but this scene does not evoke any emotion from the audience. These parts could have been written better.

Nevertheless, the brilliant performances from Regina and Nivetha make Saakini Daakini an entertaining watch. Regina particularly looks perfect as a young police trainee. Both the actors have performed their stunt sequences really well. Nivetha shines as Shalini, the mischievous one. Mikey McCleary’s music gives the film the required energy.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

 

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