Starring - Sumanth, Nassar, Jayaprakash
Director - Pradeep Krishnamoorthy
Story – M. Hemanth Rao
Rating - 3/5
Streaming - Amazon Prime Video
Kapatadhaari (Person in Disguise) is the Telugu remake of the 2019 Kannada film Kavaludaari. It is the story of Gowtham (Sumanth), a frustrated traffic SI, who believes he has the smarts to solve crimes and put away the bad guys. All he longs for is a chance to prove himself. Soon after, three skeletons are found near a construction site. It falls under his jurisdiction and this gives him a stronger reason to investigate it. How Gowtham goes about finding the identity of the skeletons with the help of retired Inspector Ranjith Kumar (Nassar) and a journalist (Jayaprakash) is what Kapatadhaari is all about.
For whodunits to work, two things must be top notch – the setting of the atmosphere/tone and the writing. Kapatadhaari sets the tone amazingly through its BGM score. Simon K. King gives us a score that is haunting, and it sets your heart racing. The score never gets overdone and is a major plus of this movie. The title song and its lyrics are superb and make your hair raise stand on end. The way the song is shot is a masterstroke and is a good example of visual storytelling.
The writing too is good but has some issues. Like on finding the skeletons, the hero says those people were murdered. How does he find it out? Through his sixth sense. This does not feel right as there is no establishment of this so called sixth sense of his. (It is a different matter altogether that forensics later confirms those people were murdered). Another issue is that not even a single policeman is placed on duty at the crime scene. Such instances never happen anywhere. A third issue is the lightning-like transformation of the wasted policeman Ranjith Kumar (Nassar). These issues aside, it has its share of character reveals and red herrings, and these help the story progress well. And those help you stay invested in the movie.
Coming to performances, Sumanth is very good and believable as the traffic policeman. He is not as frustrated as Hathiram of Paatal Lok, but you know that if he does not get a good case to sink his teeth into, he will go down that route. Also, his measured dialogue delivery reminds us of his grandfather, Natasamrat Akkineni Nageswara Rao Garu.
Nassar as Ranjith Kumar and Jayaprakash as the journalist are very good in their parts. Theirs are not one-dimensional characters but then they do not have a full arc too. Vennela Kishore provides a bit of fun while Nandhita Swetha as Swathi is wasted. This is a shame as she is such a fine actress.
Apart from the issues in writing and the irregular pacing of the screenplay, Kapatadhaari is a good movie. It didn’t do well at the BO because of a certain tsunami called Uppena. Give it a chance if you are in the mood for a whodunit. And I am sure the music will leave a great impression on you.