By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Monsoon Shootout”; Director: Amit Kumar; Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Neeraj Kabi, Sreejita De, Vijay Varma and Geetanjali Thapa; Rating: ***1/2
Opportunities and words of wisdom have always been at loggerheads, especially during decision making. It leads to a moral dilemma, for decisions and its consequences keep haunting you for the rest of your life. But what happens when your life is at stake?
Designed as a crime drama, director Amit Kumar’s “Monsoon Shootout” astutely delivers a very subtle and pragmatic message despite a convoluted plot.
The film takes us through the trials and tribulations of Adi (Vijay Varma) an idealistic greenhorn in the crime branch of Mumbai police. At the very onset of his budding career, he is reminded by his mother what his dead father would often tell him – “There are three ways; the right, the wrong and the middle path.”
But at his office, while being taken through the ropes of the trade by his senior, PI Khan (Neeraj Kabi), he is torn between the truth and reality. The conflict gnaws into his conscience, especially when he is tasked to capture Shiva (Nawazuddin), a purported serial killer who hacks his victim to death.
When a plan to capture Shiva goes awry, Adi chases Shiva with a gun in his hand. And when the chase comes to a dead end, Adi has to take the decision of whether he has to shoot him or not. The narrative niftily goes through the various points of views giving us an insight into the repercussions of the various decisions Adi may have taken.
Initially, the screenplay seems like a jigsaw puzzle, but by the third viewpoint, you are rest assured that the film is complex and layered.
“The truth is always simple,” reveals one of the characters in the film, but then like in reality, it is always difficult to present.
The writing is mature and indulgent as it exposes not only the character’s inner turmoil, but it also offhandedly exposes the city’s underbelly and its association with the police force, with brutal honesty.
What adds to the intrigue factor of the screenplay and narrative, are the performances of the cast. While we have seen Nawazuddin play a noir character earlier, it is Vijay Varma who steals your heart in his performance as Adi. He is a bundle of talent. He brings to the surface the innocence of his character and you empathise with his pain and frustrations while you back him up for his sincerity.
He is aptly paired with Geetanjali Thapa who plays a doctor and his love interest. Together, they make an endearing pair on screen.
Others in prominent roles are Neeraj Kabi as Inspector Khan, Tannishtha Chatterjee as Shiva’s wife, Sreejita De as Shiva’s moll and Iravati Harshe as the Assistant Commissioner of Police. They all have their moments of on-screen glory.
With moderate production values, the cinematographer captures Mumbai in all its elements. The atmospheric lighting and euphemisms add to the eerie and aesthetic value of the scenes.
Overall, “Monsoon Shootout” keeps you riveted and haunts you long after you leave the theatre.