Merry Christmas Review: Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi shine in this edgy thriller-comedy by Sriram Raghavan

Film: Merry Christmas

Cast: Katrina Kaif, Vijay Sethupathi, Sanjay Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Tinnu Raj Anand, Pratima Kannan, Ashwini Kalsekar, Radhika Apte

Director: Sriram Raghavan

Rating: 3.5 Moons

Sriram Raghavan, the master of detailing, comes back to the big screen (after Andhadhun in 2018) with Merry Christmas and you're in for a ride through the highs and lows of humour, thrills and suspense. In his world of intrigue, Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi are almost unrecognisable, thanks to the characters they play. 

The film showcases the events that unfold on the night of Christmas in the year when “Mumbai was still called Bombay”. Albert (Sethupathi) returns to the city after seven years. He lost his mother a year ago. To cope with the loneliness, he visits a bar where he meets Maria (Katrina) and her speech-impaired daughter Annie (Pari Maheshwari Sharma). The strangers bond but the beauty of the night turns ugly when an unlikely incident takes place.

Staying miles away from conventional stories, Sriram picks up human traits and shapes them into characters that fit his brand of cinema perfectly. With Merry Christmas, he again teases his audience with an unconventional story and a twisted end. He makes the overall experience an engaging one by throwing challenges at the viewers, making them an active participant rather than a passive crowd. An ode to yesteryear Hindi cinema, world cinema and pulp fiction, he weaves in metaphors seamlessly that you have to pay attention to in every single frame; surprises are hidden everywhere.

Merry Christmas holds your attention throughout. The screenplay binds you to the characters and that's an important victory. It is an atmospheric film. The audience is sucked into the story of Maria and Albert. Since the characters have been taken from the real world, the film seems authentic. This is possibly Katrina's best work. Injecting life into Maria's character, she is charming and enigmatic without losing the softness of a mother protecting her daughter from the evils of her life. She is a blend of coyness and vulnerability. Over the years, Katrina has matured as an actor and Merry Christmas is a reflection of that.

Can Sethupathi ever go wrong? Displaying his brilliant comic timing, he is a natural. Merry Christmas gives him a good break from the dark roles he has played in the recent past. Albert is a soft-hearted person who can charm anyone with his innocence and sense of humour. If you find yourself loving his 'cuteness', then you are not alone. He lifts the film with his effortless dialogue delivery and ability to light up the screen. 

The film is supported by fantastic actors like Vinay Pathak, Sanjay Kapoor, Tinnu Raj Anand, Pratima Kannan and Ashwini Kalsekar. Radhika Apte makes a cameo and she is endearing as always. Pari Maheshwari Sharma is adorable and will make a space for herself in the audience's hearts. Do not miss Shanaya Kapoor's special appearance; be alert! 

Technically, Merry Christmas is a sound film. The usage of light and darkness makes a huge difference and creates an unmatched impact. Music plays an important role in taking it several notches above. It might not be routine Hindi cinema but allow Sriram Raghavan, Katrina Kaif, Vijay Sethupathi and the team to take you by surprise and tease you a little.