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Seetharam Benoy Case No. 18 review: Vijay Raghavendra's 50th film falters in execution

Seetharam is the newly-transferred Sub Inspector at the Anegadde police station in Shivamogga, in the jurisdiction of which a string of robberies remains unsolved. As Seetharam begins to unravel the mystery, he is struck by a personal tragedy. Can he remain objective and close this case within the realms of the law?

Prathibha Joy
Sep 15, 2021
cover image
Vijay Raghavendra in Seetharam Benoy

Cast: Vijay Raghavendra, Shreeharsha Ninasam, Devi Prakash, Akshatha

Story: Shortly after being tasked with solving a string of robberies that were committed with utmost precision and leaving no clues behind, SI Seetharam’s house is targeted by the thieves, which he sums up as a loss of jewelry for his wife, but a loss of dignity for him. How will be crack this case?

Review: Seetharam Benoy: Case No.18 is its lead actor Vijay Raghavendra’s 50th film. It’s not a grandiose, larger-than-life story that one would expect for such a milestone. Instead, it is clear from the word go that the film, directed by Devi Prasad Shetty, was made on such a tight budget that barring Vijay, there are no other known names in the cast. The film had a hybrid release earlier, making its TV debut a day ahead of the theatrical outing.

It is a limitation that could have been overlooked if these actors managed to strike a chord with audiences, but that’s never the case. It’s the writing that lets everyone down in this thriller. There is, no doubt, an interesting premise. Filmmakers often say that they got an actor to come onboard a project based on a single-line narration. This film makes one wonder if Vijay fell for what seemed to be an interesting line, but unfortunately for him, never made it past that. The writing is nothing short of shoddy and downright cliched. You can see the earnestness that Vijay brings to the character, keeping it grounded and real, with no bombastic lines or action-packed stunts. It’s just that everything he is asked to do as Seetharam, in trying to crack the case, has been done-and-dusted in several other films. Also, a case that begins with no clues whatsoever, unravels way too easily once Seetharam figures that the key to solving it is to think like the thieves.

Seetharam Benoy has a lot of issues that could have perhaps been handled better if it had stuck to one plot, instead of the two that merge along the way. At the end of its 125-minute run time, you are not invested in any of the proceedings and you wonder if it would have been better as a case diary about a string of robberies, instead of the revenge drama it eventually turned out to be.

Verdict: Seetharam Benoy: Case No 18 gets off to a promising start, but falters along the way in execution. Vijay Raghavendra has said that a character like Seetharam could become a part of a thriller franchise. If it does, one only hopes that the actor is backed by better writing. There is only so much that he can do to uplift an otherwise lackluster script.

Where to watch: Seetharam Benoy: Case No 18 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

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