Paharganj: Review, Cast, Director

Film: Paharganj

Cast: Lorena Franco, Bijesh Jayarajan, Neet Chowdhary, Rajeev Gaursingh, Karran Jeet, Poonam Mathur, Rajesh Sharma, Gautam Kurup, Salman Khan, Manish Devkunsh, Karan Soni

Director: Rakesh Ranjan Kumar

Rating: * ½

A rather hoary escapade into the by-lanes of Paharganj (also known as Shahganj or King’s ganj or market place during Mughal era) a neighbourhood of Central Delhi, located just west of the New Delhi Railway Station, this film narrates its story through the eyes of Laura Costa (Lorena Franco) a foreign tourist come down to New Delhi in search of her missing German boyfriend Robert.

She trundles through the by-lanes, following any and everyone named Robert, gets raped by an unscrupulous God-man and eventually goes to the police to file an FIR. The police though are busy trying to catch the killer of the Home Minister’s son, Jitendra Tomar (Karan Soni) a basketball star who apparently had links with the drug mafia. Throw in a disillusioned basketball coach (Brijesh), his discontent wife (Neet) and some local thugs involved in a turf war and you get a rather distended crime thriller/whodunit?

The narrative lacks focus. There are far too many plot threads running loose here and very little logic to pull it all together. The distinct lack of tension also makes the proceedings seem rather insipid. The murder in fact brings to light unknown connections and it may be a surprise to find out who the real killer is but the telling of it is pretty much lacklustre and ungainly.

The primal thread of the foreign tourist in search of her boyfriend appears to be an excuse to dish out some titillation and crudity. The writer/director appears to want to project the seamier side of Paharganj but his motivation for that is not very clear. The fact that it’s a place where most tourists congregate in order to satisfy their unbridled urges isn’t reason enough to make this film!

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