Trapped : ‘Castaway’ in a Flat

Film: Trapped

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane

Vikramiditya Motwane’s ‘Castaway’ attempt, ‘Trapped’ comes a cropper becomes it’s an obviously contrived one. How else can you explain an educated middle class, employed male, Shaurya (Rajkumar Rao) being trapped in an apartment on the 35th floor of an abandoned building, in a teeming city like Mumbai? The director may have derived his crappy ideation from dystopian intrigue but it doesn’t hold true for the manner in which he has plotted this film.

Shaurya is already sharing an apartment with fellow bachelors when he persuades a colleague (Geetanjali Thapa) to make out with him in her tiny studio, single occupant apartment before they decide to take a chance at marriage. The rush to get suitable accommodation is dictated by her being already engaged to be married in a week’s time. But Shaurya doesn’t foresee the hazardous consequences of his illogical over-eagerness to tie the knot.

As the title suggests, he manages to get an apartment on the 35th floor of Swarg CHS which doesn’t have an OC or anyone living there-just a watchman who is hard of hearing and too immersed in listening to film music – And then Shaurya sets about getting trapped (at least that’s the way it plays out) without a phone, water or food to survive the next few days -till the director can justify his escape I guess!

After  being trapped, Shaurya is shown as banging on the door from the inside instead of pulling at it, shouting himself hoarse, lighting up his bedding and clothes in the hopes of attracting neighbourly attention , throwing an LED TV out of the balcony grills, floating blood-written SOS missives on cardboard packaging, feeding on roaches and pigeons for survival, drinking his own urine to assuage his thirst  and eventually cuts through the balcony grill with a fan blade, hanging on to dear life while down-scaling a few floors below where the front door is conveniently left open.

Considering that he had a flame at hand he could well have burned the wooden door down or even cut through it. Motwane of course tries to justify it all by throwing up Natgeo’s ‘survival in the wild’ episodes to educate the bewildered audience. Granted that someone undergoing a traumatic experience might not always think logically but since Shaurya is shown as spending more than a few days and nights in the apartment one would have expected him to collect his thoughts and plan out a coherent strategy for escape.

There’s little tension to be had here and empathy for Shaurya’s plight doesn’t come as readily as it should because of the contrived nature of the survival run. There are quite a few flaws in this contrarily furrowed experience but Rajkumar Rao’s performance is not one of them. Rao is harrowingly sincere in his efforts to convince and he is the only reason (if at all) to watch this trumped-up, highly pretentious affair.

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Free Press Journal