Crafted out of the Tamil hit of the same name, 'Vikram Vedha' is a neo-noir action thriller which is rooted in Betaal Pachhisi, a popular Indian folktale. Vikram, a top-billed officer of the Lucknow Police Special Task Force, is assigned to find and kill gangster Vedha Betaal. However, Vedha surrenders himself to the police. During interrogation, he starts narrating stories to Vikram, which slowly start changing the latter’s own perception of good and evil.

Conceptually, the film has been written and throughout really well. Almost everything, even little props and minor satellite characters that play out in the film have relevance to the central plot. The directors, Pushkar and Gayathri, also the writers of the film, make it a point to leave the story’s flow to the two central characters after establishing them sufficiently. Vikram and Vedha’s parts have been written with a kind of finer detailing that works at so many levels. Like Vedha’s love for Raj Kapoor songs, which has been used in action scenes. It’s impressive how nuanced things like these have been woven into the narrative.

Nearly, everything ties up neatly at the end, without much wastage. The exception here is the track of a prominent character like Parshuram bhaiyya who is still out there with his minions. It’s left unfinished, though you keep hoping that it would tie up somewhere to the central plot at the end. The writers also could have focussed a little more on Chanda and Shatak’s (Yogita Bihani and Rohit Saraf) love story which gives rise to a pivotal conflict in the film. You also yearn to experience a little more of Vikram, and dwell some more on how Vedha became as powerful as he is.

In terms of execution, the film offers a degree of freshness, and stays true to its world. Even with a non-linear narrative, it’s not tough to keep a track of the story’s movement and the characters. Yes, the proceedings do feel slow at times, and the climax feels a tad stretched. But the film delivers on a host of accounts. Like the action scenes have been choreographed really well. Like the pre-interval action sequence where the police are combing an area for Vedha, and how he escapes to a container yard is quite slickly done. The use of Lucknow as a setting is quite neat. The film has a smattering of delicious local flavours - from the food to the bylanes to the neighbourhoods. The film’s music album is above average. The Alcholia track becomes even better with Hrithik dancing in the video, but you wonder if it was really required.

In terms of balance, the film tilts towards Vedha’s character, which has been performed excellently by Hrithik. He’s menacing, ruthless and yet, extremely emotional in parts. He imbibes the vibe of the character really well. He’s effortlessly convincing as Vedha. You can’t help but notice the dialect which reminds you of the actor from his Super 30 avatar; that needed a little more attention.

Saif as an honest cop, who thinks he knows what’s right and wrong, perfectly compliments Hrithik on screen. He’s in control of his body language, he embraces the character’s inner strengths, vulnerabilities and depicts the gradual change in his thinking really well. Yes, one would have loved to see a little more of Saif in the story. The actor is in his classic good form here, but he needed a little more to chew on. Ditto for Radhika Apte, who plays Vikram’s wife, Priya.

To sum up, Pushkar-Gayathri, the writer-directors of the film, have pretty much stuck to the blue-print they created for the original, including the way they weave in the elements of folklore in it. It’s a plus that they haven’t changed the roadmap too much. But they’ve also not tried revisiting the elements that they had at hand to make the redux better than the original. And yet, this one’s worth a ride to the big screen.