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25 Mar 2023


NextImg:Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga’ on Netflix, Where Multiple Cons And a Diamond Heist Unfold Inside A Hijacking In Midair

Where to Stream:

Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga

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In the Hindi heist movie Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga (Netflix), Yami Gautam Dhar and Sunny Kaushal are Neha and Ankit, a couple whose undeniable chemistry nevertheless springs a few leaks in the form of who’s lying to whom and why that might be. There are various parties trying to get their hands on millions of dollars in diamonds, and the best laid plans for a midair theft are quickly muddied up. There are at least three cons happening concurrently as Chor heats up. The question is, can Neha and Ankit’s meet-cute survive when the double-crosses start to fall?

The Gist: When flight attendant Neha (Yami Gautam Dhar) has a passing encounter with Ankit (Sunny Kaushal) on her New Delhi route, it’s crazy palpable chemistry at first sight, and the text flirting and mutual social media stalking begins in earnest. Ankit is quite charming, and Neha doesn’t dwell on the blank spots in his background, since she also has a few skeletons in closets she would wish to keep hidden. And soon enough, they’re talking about marriage, settling down, and having a baby. But then a pair of thugs start following them around. It’s a financial issue with a client from his diamond insurance business, Ankit assures Neha. Nothing to worry about. It’s only when they’re physically assaulted that the couple agrees to steal 120 crores worth of stones in order to cover Ankit’s debt. 

This heist will take place in midair, as Neha works the same New Delihi route and Ankit poses as a passenger. They’ve got a plan for him to intercept a courier hired by Indian home minister Sanyal (Barun Chanda), switch out the diamond-encrusted mobile device he’s carrying for a dummy, and do a deal for the stones that keeps them alive and hopefully gets them paid. And that plan might have worked, were it not for the midair hijacking that breaks out on board. And every time he tries to slip into business class to make the switch, Ankit is greeted with another fist to the face by a guy in a ski mask. It becomes a kind of running gag to see how much more broken his bloody nose can become.

With news of the hijacking and a forced reroute to Kullu, India’s federal security services get involved, and Agent Parvez Shaikh (Sharad Kelkar) is preparing to meet plane, passengers, and terrorists on the tarmac when word comes over the radio that an air marshal shot and killed the hijackers. Hooray, crisis over. Except there are no bodies on the plane, Ankit is a suspicious character with his bloody face, and Shaikh’s questioning of the passengers and crew keeps coming back to the actions of Neha. Was this really a hijacking, or was it a robbery? Maybe it was both?  

Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga movie poster
Photo: Netflix

What Movies Will It Remind You Of? Yami Gautam Dhar, who’s so great here as Neha, is also a standout in the Bollywood rom-com Ginny Weds Sunny. And in the midair thriller department, it still doesn’t get much better than Red Eye, the 2005 Wes Craven film that featured Rachel McAdams matching wits with Cillian Murphy, plus Succession’s Brian Cox sporting brown hair.

Performance Worth Watching: Gautum and Kaushal are the biggest draws in Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga. But Krunal Pandit does bring some comedic flair to the role of Bhagat, a nervous government ministry lackey with delusions of grandeur.  

Memorable Dialogue: “Risky?” Ankit can’t believe what he’s hearing. “When I said I ‘We won’t steal,’ you said ‘We have to do it,’ and now you say it’s risky?” 

“Yeah,” Neha responds. “Because I didn’t know the plane would get hijacked.”

Even when it becomes pretty evident that these two are likely at cross-purposes, Sunny Kaushal and Yami Gautam Dhar keep their chemistry at a warm, steady simmer.

Sex and Skin: None.

Our Take: In its first few minutes, Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga leaps from the film’s present, to eight hours earlier, to eight months in the past, and then back to the present. And while this makes for a cluttered kickoff to the film, it also feels purposeful. The intention is to disorient, to keep viewers off balance, like a passenger trying to walk down the aisle of a jetliner enduring extreme turbulence. Because if we’re off balance, if we can’t initially connect the various parties in play or even how they might know each other, then Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga can more thoroughly conceal the charms of its central heist and various double-crosses. 

That flair for obfuscation doesn’t let Chor off the hook entirely. Once it begins to gleefully reveal who was making moves on who, and real truths from what was constructed, the film forgets to clarify parts of its initial story. How much of what Ankit told Neha in their first encounters together was true, and how much was part of his long con? But Chor also misses an opportunity to flesh out one of its most tantalizing flashbacks, which reveals Neha’s family history in black market dealings. (On that point, the sequel it teases seems like it might pick up the slack.) But ultimately, Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga is free to get a little loose with its details, since the chemistry between Yami Gautam and Sunny Kaushal is such a winning feature. Together, they strengthen the center of this heist film, even when it has a tendency to drift off course.

Our Call: STREAM IT. The electric chemistry between its leads keeps Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga on track as it builds a pretty entertaining heist film out of parts that don’t always fit neatly together.