The cleverest part about Cold Case is the title because the film is about a detective’s case that’s now gone cold; but it’s also a cold case because of an unexpected reason. The film opens with Medha (Aditi Balan), a television reporter in a big media house. In her first scene, she’s talking to a fellow reporter about her diovorce and the subsequent house hunting, and about their terrible boss. Her friend must already know this, and so it’s basically an information dump; these are hard to ignore throughout this very talky film. The film’s music is also another information dump: every time something ominous is about to happen, it bursts out. Even when the camera points to Medha’s face as she’s looking into a well that finally turns out to have nothing in it, we hear ominous music.
Like every movie that’s set in a haunted house, Medha and her daughter continue to stay in it instead of moving out. But we can also see that she wants to be a true reporter and conquer her fears. Medha invites Zara (a superbly cast Suchitra Pillai), a medium who introduces us to the word ‘scrying’ which means looking through your psychic eye instead of physical one. This makes up the supernatural track of the story. The other track comes out of a nice bit of writing (Sreenath V Nath) where Satyajith (Prithviraj), a cop, uses logic to approach the same case. He gets a big hero introduction as the camera follows him from the back. And as we see his face we get an image of a skull and a pair of sunglasses that reminded me of Strangers On A Train.
But after the heroic entry, Sathyajith shows no heroism, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because in a murder investation that follows both a supernatural and a logical track, Medha’s character cannot become any lesser to that of Sathyajith. But sometimes, star power can elevate the excitement. Several subplots are left hanging, like the fact that Medha’s husband is a mama’s boy or the idea that Sathyajith is a bit of a loner.
Aditi Balan looks unsure throughout and doesn’t find a rhythm in her performance. Prithviraj does well what he’s meant to do. If I had to play Devil’s advocate, I could say that the director wanted a slow-paced investigative thriller that’s different from the usual crackling ones. For example, you don’t get a big scene when Sathyajith meets Medha’s violent character. It’s just a cut to the two of them having a drink in a rooftop bar. But even if that was the goal, Cold Case doesn’t end up becoming anything more than a generic watch. The ending, especially, is not worth the long wait.