Two families are linked by tragedy in Rensil D’Silva’s taut and efficient thriller Dial 100. Revolving around righteous revenge and bad parenting, the Zee5 release suggests that in order for justice to be delivered, the suffering of one of these families is necessary to validate the pain experienced by the other.

Mumbai Police senior inspector Nikhil (Manoj Bajpayee) is on duty at a control room on a night frequently described as rainy (though it barely rains). A call from a woman named Seema (Neena Gupta) has unimaginable consequences for Nikhil, his wife Prerna (Sakshi Tanwar) and their adolescent son Dhruv (Svar Kamble). Forced to follow Seema’s instructions, Nikhil finds himself stepping out of the boundaries of the law to protect his kin.

Based on a story and screenplay by D’Silva and dialogue by Niranjan Iyengar, the movie features crisp pacing, Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s atmospheric camerawork and Raju Singh’s quietly tense score. Playing out for the most part in the control room, Dial 100 overcomes its loopholes (a police station where nobody notices what’s going on, the convenient entry of a key character, a strangely depopulated city) to deliver a grim and bitter treatise on the difference between justice and revenge.

The performances are uniformly consistent and compelling, whether it’s Manoj Bajpayee, doing double duty as policeman and father, or Sakshi Tanwar as his hapless wife. D’Silva keeps the focus on moving the story forward, delivering a pared-down and clinical film that admirably retains its suspense over 114 minutes and even manages to squeeze in a justification for its vigilante theme.

Dial 100 (2021).