Binge List: Nail Polish on Zee5, Film Companion

This week’s pick is a twisty courtroom drama on Zee5 called Nail Polish. First can we take a minute to consider the late-career choices of Arjun Rampal. The handsome actor couldn’t find his place in the leading man pantheon but as his beauty frays, his roles have become less wholesome and more interesting. Think of D-day, Daddy and now Nail Polish. Here he plays a lawyer – Siddharth Jaisingh – who has daddy issues. Sid, as he introduced himself, is hired to defend Veer Singh, a lauded ex-intelligence officer, who may or may not have sexually assaulted and murdered two children. The case, which Sid takes on to curry favor with a political party, becomes more twisted and bewildering than he had imagined.

The film is the directorial debut of adman and actor Bugs Bhargava Krishna – you might recognize him as the imperious Professor Mishra from A Suitable Boy. Krishna has also written the story, which detours into unexpected places before arriving at an intriguing conclusion. This film packs in a lot – apart from pedophilia, there’s a mental health disorder, a love angle, amnesia, alcoholism, hypnosis and of course, court room drama. The judge’s personal life is also a prominent sub-plot. In places, the tone of the film becomes lurid. Some scenes come off as flat-out silly. Krishna even bungs in an unnecessary love song. But through it all, he manages to keep you watching.

Nail Polish also benefits from Manav Kaul’s skillful performance as Veer Singh. Through his long career, Manav has successfully avoided slotting. He is effortlessly convincing as a good guy – remember the supportive husband Ashok in Tumhari Sulu. But when the role requires, he conjures menace like a magician. As Veer, he runs the full gamut of expressions. Manav anchors the more outlandish aspects of the story so that Nail Polish stays on track.

You can watch the film on Zee5.

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