And once in a while, a commercial thriller dares to be something different. It’s definitely not an original plot, but it has enough of that to be refreshing. “Twenty One Hours” is about how Inspector Srikanth is investigating the disappearance of Madhuri Menon the night after she disappears and his navigation of the web of lies made by everyone around her. This is a protagonist that doesn’t care about being good. He genuinely does not have any backstory that would justify his actions. His character is evil, and there is no justification for that, something that feels quite novel to us. You know by the way, his character interacts with others, that he is a guy who carries a distinct contempt for the rules but is not afraid to use them for his own benefit. Throughout the investigation, he leaves no stone unturned to find Madhuri, but it is only towards the end, and when the truth is finally revealed, it leaves us all shocked with its simplicity. This is how the plot unfolds on screen.
Madhuri’s Disappearance And Sri Kanth’s Investigation
“Twenty One Hours” opens with Madhuri’s father, Girish, coming to a police station looking for his daughter. He had asked the police to take care of her for a few hours till he could come to pick her up. This is exactly as odd as it sounds and is the singular loose end in what could have otherwise been a watertight script. Moving on from that, it turns out that Girish had called an acquaintance of his , Joe, to pick up his daughter. But since he was busy, he had suggested that Joe direct the police to pick up Madhuri and keep her safe for a few hours. For this purpose, Joe had called up a minister, asking him for police support. Which is when the Minister called Srikanth and asked him to pick up Madhuri. He had also told him that he would send Joe’s number to him and that he could contact him for Madhuri’s photograph and phone number. But the twist in the tale is that Srikanth never met her. She was picked up by somebody else.
Srikanth is assigned to the case unofficially, and he has to track her down. He first meets up with Ranjith, Madhuri’s husband. It turns out, she lived in a very unhappy household, with her husband never taking a stand for her and her mother-in-law constantly berating her for her failure to provide her with a grandchild. Srikanth has investigated the mother-son duo and has figured out that Ranjith is a homosexual and his mother is aware of it. But instead of talking to her son, she conveniently blamed Madhuri for not taking the family forward. One particular day, after a confrontation, when Ranjith slaps her, she pushes him away and leaves the house. That’s when she meets Vishal, her ex-boyfriend.
Srikanth goes to see him next and finds him high on drugs. He doesn’t require much convincing before he tells the officer that Madhuri had asked him for help, but he had been unable to because of his fiance. He had met her in a coffee shop, and she had told him that she was leaving her husband. It is here that we come to know that Girish is Madhuri’s stepdad, and she did not share a good relationship with him. This was the reason she was feeling so helpless—because there was no one to turn to for support. Nevertheless, her dad said that he was coming to pick her up, and Vishal took her to his house so that she could wait in peace. But at that very moment, Vishal’s fiance shows up, and she is not okay with Madhuri being there, causing her to leave.
The Puzzle Is Unravelling, And We Are At The Last Leg Of It.
The next person that Srikanth talks to is Joe. He comes to know from him that before sending the picture to him, he had sent it to a person named Mottai as a joke. The problem is, that person is suspected of human trafficking. Still not knowing where Madhuri is and having exhausted all of his leads, Srikanth is pondering over his next step when he receives information that her dead body has been found along with some other dead drug dealers. Srikanth now makes the call to continue the investigation, but after registering it as a formal case with the Crime Branch.
‘Twenty One Hours’ Ending Explained: What Happens With Madhuri? Does Srikanth Get Away With It All?
Once the investigation is out of his hands, Srikanth makes his way to a deserted place, where a woman named Revathi is sitting in a car, struggling to breathe. He tells her that she cannot cheat him out of money and shoots her before leaving with bags of cash. The next scene cuts to a flashback where we see that Revathi and Srikanth are waiting to make a deal with a drug dealer. They do not know about Srikanth’s identity as a cop, but it doesn’t matter since he is only interested in money. It is then that he gets the call to pick up Madhuri, and he does so. Hence, Srikanth did pick up Madhuri. He was the last person to see her. He just took advantage of his position as the investigator and manipulated everyone. As they are short on time, he takes her to the negotiation and asks her to stay in the car. But one of the dealers comes to know through her that Srikanth is a cop, forcing a shootout in which she ends up dying as well as the other dealers. That’s when he comes up with the entire plan of Madhuri’s disappearance.
A few days later, as the case gains more attention, he is assigned to be the lead investigator, putting him completely in control of the narrative. So yes, Madhuri ends up dead, and Srikanth gets away with it all. The villain wins in the end.
Final Thoughts: What Works And What Doesn’t For ‘Twenty One Hours’?
Mostly, the film works. It was just that one bit of Madhuri’s circumstances that landed her in a position to be escorted by the police. That is the weak point in the script, but it is somewhat forgivable. Otherwise, we truly have some unique interactions and a protagonist who is as slimy as they come, which made us happy because we were seeing something different. It was a real blessing for our brain cells that had been inundated with over-the-top action flicks and mindless remakes. We don’t know if “Twenty One Hours” could have been better, but it was definitely not bad. If you liked the film as well, then do recommend it to people around as it is an easy thriller to watch on the weekend, and we hope that more of such content gets made.
“Twenty One Hours” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Jaishankar Pandit.