There is a reveal towards the final portions of the Telugu movie Hunt, following which the camera dwells on the lead actor, Sudheer Babu, as he gives in to rage, denial and an acceptance of who he is. All that machismo he displays until that point, baring his rippling muscles and pulling off slick action sequences, is only one part of the character’s persona. It is perhaps this segment that made the team adapt the 2013 Malayalam psychological cop drama thriller Mumbai Police in Telugu.
At the heart of Hunt is the bromance between three cops nicknamed the Mumbai trio. Arjun Prasad (Sudheer Babu), Aryan Dev (Bharath) and the commissioner of police Mohan Bhargav (Srikanth) are thick as thieves until a murder does them apart. For those who haven’t seen the Malayalam original, there is quite a bit to chew on.
Cast: Sudheer Babu, Srikanth, Bharath
The film opens with Arjun meeting with an accident and suffering partial memory loss. However, Mohan tasks him with the responsibility of solving a murder case, confident that he will be able to crack it. Arjun being a loner makes it a tad easier for the script to leave out the family angle and solely look at him as a cop.
Plenty of questions arise as Arjun negotiates his way through a new chapter of his life, unaware of his environment and what has transpired before. The film brings in his treating doctor (Manjula Ghattamaneni in a cameo) to ascertain what Arjun is capable of.
Much of the story revolves around the three male cops but a few female characters, in their limited presence, push the plot forward. Mounika Reddy as an investigating cop in Arjun’s team is impressive as a steadfast, level-headed cop who does not hesitate to tell Arjun when he goes wrong.
A few pointers in the narrative indicate that Arjun has shades of grey, prone to inflicting violence on suspects, and not thinking twice before behaving untowardly with a woman. Crime investigation and Arjun’s re-discovery of his life are punctuated with action sequences in which he gets to show his agility as well as his toned physique. The plot uses this display of machismo cleverly to bring out another facet of his character much later.
The source material for Hunt is interesting. But the film does not capitalise on this to deliver an absorbing thriller drama. The crime and investigation needed to be sharper and the relationships between the different characters also do not have the intended emotional heft. Srikanth is measured and restrained as the officer and friend who stands by Arjun. Hunt belongs to Sudheer who needs to be commended for taking up a role that most mainstream heroes would consider risky.
Had the narrative been more engaging, Hunt would have been worthwhile.