Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Traffic – An emotional roller coaster

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Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Parambrata Chatterjee, Jimmy Sheirgill, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Sachin Khedekar and Divya Dutta

Director: Rajesh Pillai

Rating: * * * ½


Runtime: 104 mins

A remake of the 2011 award-winning Malayalam film of the same name helmed by the same director, Rajesh Pillai and rewritten in Hindi by Suresh Nair with dialogues by Piyush Mishra from original work by brothers’ Bobby and Sanjay, this film is a well designed emotional thriller situated around an effort to deliver  a live donor heart from Mumbai to Pune in time to save a 13 year old girl from sure death.

The story is based on a real-life incident which took place in 2009. The story of the film tells us about a man who got hit in a road accident in Mumbai and had little chance of survival while at the same time a 13 year old girl in Pune was on the verge of collapsing for want of a replacement heart. The hospital channels were quick enough to pass on the information of the accident and into play came an elaborate effort to breach the life and death distance of 150 minutes amidst heavy traffic and poor visibility in order to gift the young girl a new lease of life.

Traffic was heralded as one of the finest Malayalam films to have released this decade, and it’s hindi remake , while having a few songs added, stays true to most part of the original it apes. The film follows the lives of several people not connected to each other (a la Amores Perros, Crash)– a popular superstar (Prosenjit Chatterjee),his wife (Divya Unni), a reporter (Vishal Singh) his parents (Kitu Gidwani & Sachin Khedekar) and his best friend (Amol Parasher), a re-instated constable (Manoj Bajpayee) who was suspended for bribery, his wife (Divya Dutta), a doctor/cardiac surgeon (Parambrata Chatterjee) disturbed by the thought that his wife (Richa Panai) is having an affair, a traffic cop (Kasbir Thandi) and Police Commissioner (Jimmy Shergill)…and how one accident connects them, and changes their lives forever.

The form is obviously inspired but the story is true life and gritty to go with it. The late Rajesh Pillai’s treatment is immensely assured and realistic. But for a few songs, there are no masala elements here to distract you or lead you astray. Everything is construed with a minimum of fuss and a great deal of practicality. The cinematography lends richness and volatility to the distress powered drama and the fancy editing adds sharpness and crispness  to the telling of it. The performance by the ensemble cast is note perfect and allows for immense gratification. The tempo starts off as slow but picks up pace once the import is reached. This is a film that subtly spreads the message of organ donation while providing for emotionally high-strung entertainment. It’s both classy and special!