There’s a lot happening in the 110-minute runtime of Ajay Singh’s direct-to-digital film Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga, streaming on Netflix, but the racy plot tends to skid on a shaky foundation.
The heist thriller stars Yami Gautam as crew attendant Neha Grover and Sunny Kaushal as Ankit Sethi, a businessman who works for a diamond insurance company. They meet on a flight, he falls for her and their relationship takes off over the course of a song.
Soon after, we see Ankit going through a rough patch in his career and, as a bailout, is pushed to stealing a package of diamonds being smuggled to India by air. Neha joins him in executing the plan, finding no other solution.
Their heist goes wrong when the flight is hijacked by some men and the duo still go ahead with their plan, hoodwinking the hijackers. But some things don’t add up after the flight lands, and director Singh uses most of the film to unravel the characters’ motives, and the twists and turns that come in their wake. The big reveal at the end gives a satisfying spin to the story and kind of saves the day for the film.
Written by Shiraj Ahmed, Amar Kaushik and Raj Kumar Gupta, Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga is sometimes smart, sometimes formulaic. It begins with a romcom track, which seems too convenient at the beginning but the twist at the end puts it into perspective. The film chronicles the backstory of the heist-hijack from the perspective of its protagonists — first Ankit and then Neha. This brings down the count of nail-biting moments as you already have an idea of how the next twist might pan out. Besides, the makers rush to the central act of the film — the hijack — without dwelling much on the two main characters. And despite Kaushik (the director of Stree and Bhediya) being one of the writers, the dialogues lack a punch.
Yami pulls off a compelling act — as a kind air hostess who prioritises her passengers’ well-being over her own life and then as someone who’s not going to be taken for a ride — which offsets some of the gaping inconsistencies in the storytelling. Her combination of poker face and pleasant behaviour is spot on, and with eyes that never betray what’s going on in her mind, Yami keeps you intrigued by giving just a few glimpses of Neha’s layered personality.
Sunny Kaushal — Vicky Kaushal’s younger brother — looks dapper in his suits and puts in a heartfelt performance as the bewildered boyfriend, but is overshadowed by Yami’s presence. Sharad Kelkar, as the RAW officer, is impressive but his role lacked meat. Gianni Giannelli deserves applause for creating a tense atmosphere among the air-borne passengers with his cinematography.