Movie Review

'House Of Lies' On Zee5 Movie Review: Sanjay Kapoor's Murder Mystery Treads Familiar Grounds And Gets Marred By Poor Execution

Outlook Rating:
2 / 5

'House of Lies' is a new addition on Zee5. Although the premise seems promising, its execution went haywire. But, is it still worth your while? Find out here.

Sanjay Kapoor in 'House Of Lies' Photo: Zee5

In recent years, the surge of OTT platforms and original content has led to a proliferation of murder mysteries because they seem to work well; hence, audiences want more of them. However, just like too many cooks spoil the broth, the abundance of suspects often kills the suspense in this genre. Sanjay Kapoor’s ‘House of Lies’ is a new addition on Zee5. It centres around the enigmatic demise of Albert Pinto and aims to determine whether his death stemmed from natural causes, as his family claims, or foul play. Although the premise seems promising, let’s find out how its execution went.

‘House of Lies’: Story

‘House of Lies’ begins by establishing that Albert Pinto (late Rituraj K Singh) is already dead and was discovered the morning after his birthday party at his home in Goa. Soon after, Special Investigating Officer Rajveer Singh Choudhary (Sanjay Kapoor) is seen arriving at the crime scene. Joining him on this case are Abhay (Hiten Paintal), a sub-inspector in the local police, and Sashi (Simran Kaur Suri) from the Enforcement Directorate. With Rajveer leading the investigation, the team embarks on a rigorous (rather, amusing) interrogation of both family members and other guests who attended the party, leaving no stone unturned.

Among the suspects are Albert’s family and friends—his wife, Ragini (Ssmilley Suri); brother, Anthony (Girish Sharma); sister-in-law, Aastha (Taniya Chatterjee); lawyer, Karan (Jaydeep Ashra); doctor, Fernandes (Mir Sarwar); friend, Col. Verma (Sukhangshu Chatterjee); and house help, Zaid (Ajitesh Gupta). So, who is the culprit, and how did Albert really die? Who wanted his Rs 35 crore in crypto currency so desperately? That’s what the movie aims to find out.

‘House of Lies’: Performances

While embodying the roles of the main two investigating officers, Sanjay Kapoor and Hiten Paintal lack the sternness often associated with such characters. Despite his attempts to convey authority, Kapoor’s portrayal doesn’t fully deliver the requisite gravitas and command, which is really shocking to see, considering how great of an actor he is. Similarly, Paintal’s demeanour feels a bit subdued, but his expressions remain firm. Overall, these two are the only ones whose performances can be considered as passable. The third authoritative figure, Simran Kaur Suri, is simply a one-dimensional, hot-headed character, who is overly obsessed with the missing crypto currency.

Rituraj K Singh has limited screen time, but in that, he plays his role with such natural ease, bringing his character to life, despite the irony of his character being dead from the start of the film. The rest of the cast, including Ssmilley Suri, Girish Sharma, Taniya Chatterjee, Jaydeep Ashra, Mir Sarwar, Sukhangshu Chatterjee, and Ajitesh Gupta, are quite literally nothing more than caricatures. I mean, they’re suspects; they need to act like it. There are hardly any facial expressions, and their body language feels forced, accompanied by bland, one-toned dialogue delivery.

‘House of Lies’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

The opening scene of the film is a captivating voiceover that presents three different perspectives on uncovering the truth in solving a case, which is what will draw you in because it builds up the hype around a good murder mystery. However, as the scenes progress, you will realize that the film has nothing new to offer you except for many culprits. If anything, it tries too hard to hold onto your attention by adding some ‘humorous’ lines, but even that falls flat. Fortunately, devoid of subplots, the narrative stays singularly fixated on unravelling the mystery surrounding Albert’s demise. However, the process of finding out the murderer is laughable and poorly written from the outset, like for instance, none of the investigating officers follow the basic protocol we’ve seen in other movies. Yes, the premise is something we’re all familiar with, but its execution doesn’t enhance the entire viewing experience.

Visually, some shots catch your eye, but it’s not perfect. The colour grading is too bright, and the grey aura associated with murder mysteries is missing. There are moments when the camera is being played around with too much, which gets too heavy on the eyes. Add to that, abrupt scene cuts. The over-the-shoulder shots that are taken between two people conversing are so abruptly switched back and forth with every dialogue that it pains you to watch it. Thankfully, the film’s runtime is one thing that’s acceptable; had it been any longer, it would’ve been an absolute snooze fest.

It’s sad to see a good narrative go to waste because the narrative had the opportunity to execute a web of deceit and betrayal in a much smarter way. Despite ample potential for clever presentation, director Saumitra Singh wasn’t able to achieve that. While only a handful of moments and scenes actually contribute to the intrigue, I have to say, it’s a twisted psychological ride that will keep you guessing until the very end.

‘House of Lies’: Cast & Crew

Director: Saumitra Singh

Cast: Sanjay Kapoor, Hiten Paintal, Ssmilley Suri, Simran Kaur Suri, Rituraj K Singh, Girish Sharma, Taniya Chatterjee, Jaydeep Ashra, Mir Sarwar, Sukhangshu Chatterjee, Ajitesh Gupta


Available On: Zee5  

Premiere Date: May 31, 2024

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Action, Suspense

Language: Hindi

‘House of Lies’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘House of Lies’ stumbles over its own murder mystery plot, ultimately delivering a mediocre execution that fails to capitalize on its potential. Despite a promising start, the film ends up disappointing you to some extent, but can also make you laugh because of how amateur it deep-down is. If you want to watch something merely just to pass your time, stream it, but mind you, it has nothing extraordinary that makes it worth your while.