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Merry Christmas:  A concoction of Darlings and Andhadhun

Sriram Raghavan’s latest doesn’t hit the high notes of his previous films but still this is an intriguing thriller

By

Prabhatha Rigobertha

January 13, 2024

Sriram Raghavan has established his credits as a thriller specialist starting from his debut film Ek Hasina Thi starring Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar. Except for Agent Vinod also starring Saif Ali Khan the director has created some delicious characters and has done an excellent job in capturing the dark nature of human beings. Additionally Sriram is also known for casting actors against the type. The perfect examples of these are Varun Dhawan in Badlapur and Ayushmann Khurrana in Andhadhun.

Katrina, Vijay Sethupathi and Sriram Raghavan, the director.

The director has continued his penchant for unusual casting with Merry Christmas. Not many directors would have thought of casting Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi together in a movie. This unique casting has created anticipation for the film. For those who are not aware Merry Christmas is based on a French novel Le-Monte- Charge.

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Merry Christmas starts off as a date movie between two strangers. Katrina Kaif is Maria and Vijay Sethupathi is Albert. Both of them meet on Christmas Eve and end up forming a certain connection in a short span of time. Maria is stuck in a turbulent marriage much like Alia Bhatt’s Badru in Darlings. Vijay Sethupathi’s Albert has returned to the city of Bombay after a long gap. Here it has to be mentioned that the story takes place in the 90’s before Bombay had become Mumbai.

Sriram Raghavan’s dark christman with Katrina

Both Maria and Albert have some secrets which they are hiding from each other. As the story progresses the plot turns into a murder mystery when a dead body is found on the couch of Maria, what follows is a tale of deception, death and darkness.

A big strength of Merry Christmas is the recreation of the 90’s Bombay. The viewers feel a certain sense of nostalgia. Like Johnny Gaddaar and Andhadhun there is a certain retro touch which adds to the story.

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The casting of Vijay Sethupathi and Katrina Kaif has raised many eyebrows given the huge discrepancy in terms of the acting capabilities. But it has to be said they do feed off each other. Katrina Kaif’s acting does fall a little short in a key emotional sequence related to her husband however it has to be said that overall she has given a proficient performance.  Katrina has done a good job in conveying the different emotions through her body language particularly the portions where Maria has to come across as alluring. Additionally her character has also been designed well going from a gorgeous and vulnerable single mom to a hurt and revengeful wife.

All on one leaf

Vijay Sethupathi on the other hand is as brilliant as ever. He portrays the different emotions of grief, pain and others in his trademark style. The actor also leaves you in splits with the one liners.

The supporting cast comprising of Sanjay Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ashwini Kalsekar and others also do a good job in maintaining the mystery with their impactful performances. However it has to be said the supporting characters in Badlapur and Andhadhun had a bigger impact.

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Talking about twists and turns some of twists have the trademark Sriram Raghavan touch but they are not entirely satisfactory. The climax in particular is a low point. It has not got the thrill and the heft of the last scene in Andhadhun where many people had come up with different theories.

Merry Christmas does not entirely live up to the standards that Sriram Raghavan has set but for Katrina Kaif this film is a new start. Here’s hoping the actress continues to take on challenging roles like this.

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Prabhatha Rigobertha
Prabhatha Rigobertha
Rigobertha Prabhatha has been writing on movies, web series, books, etc. on social media platforms like Facebook for a few years. He has a YouTube channel "prabhathalovesmovies" in which he posts video reviews. "I have only two windows to my world - movies and books" reads it's tagline. He is a student of English literature and currently working as Content Writer at Pudami Publications based in Hyderabad.

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