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SAMRAT & CO. – Film Review

An engrossing crime-detective thriller


Samrat & Co.

It’s a dark night, a car winding its way up the hilly roads of Shimla, reaches its destination at the sprawling Mahendra Mansion. Mahendra Pratap Singh is about to retire for the night, suddenly the phone rings. This sets in motion for a series of engrossing, edge of the seat moments in this crime-detective thriller.

There’s a tribute paid upfront to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. One of Bollywood’s finest whodunit detective thrillers in recent few years.

Trees are drying out, the flowery plants are on a depletion mode and so is the owner Mahendra Pratap Singh who too, is on a deterioration state of health, so much so that he is shown jerking up even at the telephone bell ringing.

A young, beautiful and rich girl, Dimpy Singh (Madalsa Sharma), approaches Samrat Tilakdhari (Rajeev Khandelwal), a private investigator, with a strange case.

Dimpy takes a flight on her way to Mumbai for an audience with our Indian Sherlock Holmes. The reason – Their garden got ruined for reasons that appear natural but are not known; leading horticulturists have examined the fading plants but they have not been able to identify the probable reason.

The detective isn’t interested in taking up the case and shows her the door. Wait, she’s has more to be worried about: her father’s favorite horse died; once again the reason for the pre-mature death remains a mystery. That’s not the end; Dimpy’s father Mahendra Pratap Singh (Girish Karnad), otherwise a very strong and balanced man, has been experiencing deteriorating health. All these aspects when combined makes the case sound weird and that grabs the attention of Samrat.

Before we go further, it is the sharp deduction ability of Samrat who sums up the sweet girl’s agla-pichla kundli (her whereabouts and hobbies and her personal characteristics). The girl is impressed. So are we.

Samrat along with his assistant friend, Chakradhar Pandey (Gopal Datt), visits the huge estate of Mahendra Pratap Singh. As he starts investigating, he discovers lots of mysterious facts.

The story progresses when a murder takes place in the house, which leads to a series of events, complicating things for Samrat. Every character around seems to be hiding something.

How will Samrat unfold the mysteries? Will there be more mysteries while he is investigating? Will the case be solved?

Samrat & Co. has its share of unexplained / illogical grounds in this suspense-drama. Irritating is the character who plays CD (Samrat’s assistant-cum-friend). How does he have so much time to hang around with the detective while being the anchor of a crime based Television show? It is the assistant’s unwanted not-at-all-funny wise-cracks and interruptions which further test your patience.

There are too many characters introduced in the first half itself, which makes the plot quite confusing, but then it re-visits each of them in the second half to clear out the hazy ensemble of characters connected with the incidents.

It is chilly in Shimla, so chilly that Samrat, his assistant and even the local residents of Mahendra Mansion are in warm woolens and shawls. But our PYT Dimpy Singh’s so brave enough to move around in coloured, short dresses, hopping around, singing and making merry.

With its fast pace, crisp editing, superb detailing of the STD’s as well as Mr. Mahendra’s study rooms and the mansion, its open spaces, sharp interpretation of the detective’s reading of a character or the occurring instances and overall a realistic feel of the chill (besides the thrill of murders) in Shimla, this film is recommended to all our Indian Agatha Chritie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fans.

It will be pertinent to note that the producers have credited their inspiration from the world famous detective, Samrat & Company appears no where near the recently released Sherlock Holmes series. Probably its to do with keeping the Indian audience in mind with its share of naach-gana, family bondages and decelerated pace in the second half for minutely unraveling of Samrat’s sharp deductions, theories and conclusions.


Rajeev Khandelwal as Samrat Tilakdhari (STD)
Madalsa Sharma as Dimpy Singh
Gopal Datt as Chakradhar Pandey (CD)
Girish Karnad as Mahendra Pratap Singh
Priyanshu Chatterjee as Sanjay Singh
Sujata Sanghmitra as Sunita Singh
Shreya Narayan as Divya Singh
Indraneil Sengupta as Vijay Singh
Barkha Bisht as Revati Singh
Ravi Jhankal as Puran Kaka
Puja Gupta as Shanti
Navin Prabhakar as Hari
Rajniesh Duggall as Deepak Khurana
Bhaumik Sampat as Inspector Khalid
Pradeep Welankar as DGP Arjun
Smita Jaykar as Narayani Dave
Deepak Shroff as Kishor Dave
Ramgopal Bajaj as Satyadev baba
Anurag Jha as Ghanshyam
Ajay Bhandari as Anuj
Gufi Paintal as Dinesh Das (DD – Family Advocate)
Kabir Chopra as Vikramjeet


Producer – Kavita Barjatya
Director – Kaushik Ghatak
Story Written by Kaushik Ghatak, Manish Srivastav
Music Director – Ankit Tiwari, Mithoon
Lyricist – Sanjay Masoom, Mithoon
Editor – Nipun Gupta
Action – Kaushal, Moses
Screenplay – Kaushik Ghatak, Manish Srivastav
Dialogue Writer – Sanjay Masoom
Sound Design – Jitendra ChaudharyBackground Music by Sandeep Shirodkar
Choreographer – Ganesh Acharya
Costume Designers – Rahul Agasti, Moiz Kapadia