Film: Lucknow Central
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Ronit Roy, Deepak Dobriyal, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma, Inaamulhaq
Director: Ranjit Tiwari
Kishen Mohan Girhotra (Farhan Akhtar) a die-hard fan of Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, and a wannabe singer, fails to hand over his CD to his idol at a function held near his residence. The next day he finds himself hauled in by the police for a murder he did not commit. Now languishing in prison and treated abominably by his fellow inmates. Kishen finds himself staring at a life term which could get converted to capital punishment. And then comes the lifeline. The CM (Ravi Kishen) is eager to make Lucknow Central jail famous and wants a motley band to come out from the prison.
The script calls for some neat side-steps before the permissions are granted.
An NGO worker Gayatri (Diana Penty) from Muktangan, is eager to bring about reform within the prison. The formation of a band to compete with other prisons within the state seems like a good idea to begin the process. Everything happens quite conveniently here. Kishen’s character is so inconsistent that he goes from timid and watchful to full on aggressive within a span of minutes. Inept non-musicians end-up as viral sensations and suddenly the general public appears to have invested an emotional stake in seeing the prison band win the contest.
The group of 6 that also includes Victor Chattopadhyay (Deepak Dobriyal), Parminder Singh Gill (Gippy Grewal), Purushottam Madan Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) and Liyakat Ansari (Inaamulhaq) – who were in it to escape suddenly get cold feet and decide to let Kishen escape instead. Director/writer Ranjit Tiwari reportedly conceived the idea of the film after he read an article about 12 inmates in Uttar Pradesh’s Central Jail making a music band of their own, called Healing Hearts. But their ‘Escape to Victory’ was nowhere in that story.
That newspaper story was not about jailbreak. It was about reform. This film offers platitudes on reform but there’s no real effort to show for it. Timelines are muted and subverted too. Our band of criminals stockpiles their escape paraphernalia with impunity. Gayatri keeps walking in and out of prison without so much of a ‘will you please.’
There’s also barely any time or effort put in to make the transformation believable. Instead, there’s music to set the tempo and transformation of totally untalented non-performers becoming proficient singer-performers, takes the cake. It’s neither believable nor forgivable. Kahvaan Kahvaan may drum up the tempo towards the end but the run towards it is paved with dust and smoke. There are no solid grounds for believability here.