Cast: JimmyShergill, Om Puri, Sanjay Mishra, Rajit Kapur, Archana Puran Singh, Elena Kazan, Poonam Pandey, Sangram Singh
Director:Jasbir B Bhati
Social activism has its pitfalls especially when it is confronted by a mafia of power which includes the State and the criminals who finance it’s well-being. This film by Jasbir B Bhati attempts to do a ‘Rang De Basanti’ with a ‘Nirbhaya’ type situation set in and around Delhi NCR. But that part of it is majorly relegated to the post-interval half of the narrative.
The film begins with three young male friends being relegated to judicial custody for the period of 8 days. We see S. P Tejaveer Singh (Jimmy Shergill) making a request to the jail superintendent, specially suggesting that the young men be treated well while in custody. That’s not euphemism for torture but a straight-forward request to keep the guys safe from harm while in jail. Our curiosity is aroused and rightly so. Why would an S P request for special treatment to three guys who may have committed a crime? The story then unfolds through flashbacks. The boys along with two other friends are real pests at school. They get offloaded from there and their venerable Babuji/Hukum Pratap Chaudhary(Om Puri) for no logical reason decides to enroll them into a prestigious English medium school.
Admissions are no problem apparently, and we see it too. A brief
pat-down is all they get for their inappropriateness – from the disciplinarian principal (Rajit Kapoor) who accepts them with alacrity.. and without even checking their marks or their antecedents. Initially the boys are quite reluctant to regroup in a new space but new-found nubile attractions and lures help keep them in place. The brat pack continue to flourish with their wayward spiel while the teachers there, on the one hand preach discipline and on the other have no qualms being skimpily clad or being caught in compromising positions. Then the five friends go to a fellow classmates, a girl’s home for combined study. And the very first night, get listless and venture out at night only to end up being the ones to find a physically abused and abandoned victim of rape- who conveniently
happens to be their Principal’s eldest daughter.
The twist in the tale appears towards the end when the SP takes the law into his own hands and suggests an interesting and ingenious cure for rapists. I wont go into that because that would be a spoiler. But suffice to say that if the objective of the film was to put forth that radical idea then the exercise itself was futile. The strappy narrative goes back and forth trying to delineate past and present without much success or class. The treatment is clueless, amateurish, uninventive and tedium inducing. The form is a little too uneven and the flow is stuttering at best. There’s one peppy song ‘Vande Mataram’ that could manage a momentary rise out of a supine audience but it certainly won’t do enough to keep you alive and kicking through the entire runtime of the film. This film has some talented actors doing B grade duty on screen here and that’s a pity. Om Puri , Sanjay Mishra, Rajit Kapoor and Jimmy Shergill should in fact be a little more careful about accepting such third grade ventures. They are decent enough in performance but unfortunately their sum is not a whole.
Jasbir B Bhati’s attempt to score a screen scorcher? It’s a no-show at best!