RD Review: Wrong Number
Even though it has the right recipe, Dial 100 fails to simmer
Manoj Bajpayee and Neena Gupta—two of our finest actors—have had different types of career resurgences in the past decade. Give them prominent roles in a noir-ish thriller, set over the course of an eventful, rain-soaked night, and you’d think tedium would be out of the question. Sadly, Rensil D’Silva’s Dial 100 comes close to it.
Bajpayee plays NikhilSood, a cop in an emergency control room who receives a series of calls from Seema(Gupta), an apparently disturbed woman with a gun. A potential suicide, or a potential murderer? Alarm bells ring when Sood realizes she has her sight strained on his family.
There is no major suspense involved in the plot—around 40 minutes in, we have understood Seema’shistory and motivations, and what is at stake—but Dial 100(streaming on Zee5)manages a certain degree of tension with its scenario, as Soodtries to keep his wife and teenage son safe; he must problem-solve on the phone while be-ing mainly confined to the control centre. The screenplay has an eye for the mundane details of police work too: communication problems, the need to be tactful, the hurdles faced on a rainy night such as ambulances taking hours in traffic. Ultimately this is also a story about various kinds of parenting—attentive, neglectful—and the journey of a man towards emasculation, towards learning that he might not be able to save himself from the past, even if he is an efficient cop. But as a thriller (which is what it is primarily trying to be), this new film is often strangely inert, with protracted sequences. A narrative like this should have been much tighter and better-paced.