Bugs Bhargava Krishna’s Nail Polish strikes a careful balance as it portrays the sensational trial of a man suspected of being a child rapist and murderer and an unforeseen transformation of the self. Bhargava Krishna’s screenplay is clever enough to prevent the plot from being fully revealed. To do so would be to shatter the suspense of whether charismatic coach Veer (Manav Kaul) is indeed guilty of the horrendous crimes for which he has landed in jail.

Public prosecutor Amit (Anand Tiwari) lays out a pile of evidence against Veer. Amit also hints that Veer is behind a series of similar crimes in the past, but judge Bhushan (Rajit Kapur) asks him to stick to the present case: did Veer imprison, rape and kill two young children?

On the defence side is Sidharth (Arjun Rampal), who is hired by a voice on the phone for reasons that remain flimsy. Sidharth expertly demolishes the mountain of proof against Veer, but even he has to take a pause when Veer springs his biggest surprise yet.

The Zee5 original film, which claims to be based on real events, veers this way and that as it patiently and methodically proceeds to its unconventional ending.

Apart from buttoned-down performances by Arjun Rampal and Manav Kaul, the movie has a cameo by Madhoo Shah as the judge’s alcoholic wife Shobha. There is no point in being sober, Shobha declares.

The biggest twist in Nail Polish actually emanates from the restrained storytelling and overall lack of hysteria. Bhargava Krishna lulls us into thinking that we are watching one kind of movie while actually delivering something else – a switcheroo that goes beyond anything seen in the movie.

Nail Polish (2021).