Samrat Tilakdhari aka STD (Rajeev Khandelwal) is the desi Sherlock Holmes, famous for his brilliant analytical mind and formidable martial abilities. Not one to offend his intelligence, he only takes up cases that are challenging enough.
A deserted haveli in Shimla gives Samrat what he’s looking for – a daunting task to battle a villain, who may or may not have supernatural powers. As threats turn into grisly murders, Samrat connects the dots to realise there’s more to the puzzle than meets the eye.
The film is predominantly a formulaic ‘whodunit’ thriller, which aspires to be Sherlock Holmes but ends up looking like its parody. This too opens with a bare-knuckle, slow-mo boxing scene like Guy Ritchie’s film (starring Robert Downey Jr.), but thereafter, fails to instill a sense of fear or anxiety, thanks to the excessive dialogue.
Samrat’s sidekick CD (Gopal Datt as Chakradhar aka Watson) annoys with his compulsive talking, while Samrat over-explains his deductions. Also, the film seems overlong as it crawls towards an elongated, predictable climax. Barring Rajeev Khandelwal, everyone else is loud. The script lacks punch as the ‘Samratisms’ (one-liners) are anything but clever. To top it all, an animated Shimla evokes maximum laughter.
While it’s brave of the conservative Rajshri productions to take the leap – from family dramas to thrillers, the effort should have been more compelling. While Sherlock Holmes was dismissive of mediocrity, Samrat succumbs to it.
Plagued by paranormal encounters and subsequent mysterious deaths, an extended family residing in a palatial house seeks the help of detective Samrat to investigate the matter.
The Times of India