Cast: Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Anjali Patil, Seema Biswas, Subrat Dutta, Jay Bhatt, Chinmay Mandelkar, Alok Gangdekar, Manoj Shah, Master Shubham Bajrange
Director: Dakxin Bajrange
Appropriating the A Wednesday format, this first-time feature effort by award winning documentary filmmaker Dakxin Bajrange has complexity and layered thrills in good measure.
A special ATS team lead by officer Desai (Subrat Dutta) ardently following the trial of a series of bomb blasts in Hyderabad come up with a suspect, Yasin Darji, an engineering college student. The team barges into the college hostel hoping to catch the kingpin only to find his roommate Sameer (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) instead.
A reporter from a local Gujarati daily, Alia Irade (Anjali Patil) who has been covering the story about the missing children from the riots of the past stumbles into the top-secret investigation because she is the contact through which the terrorists announce their next attack. Desai and the journalist have a past history which comes to light when Desai invites her to his home as a means to protect as well as keep an eye on her online activities. Desai is also using Sameer as a mole to infiltrate Yasin’s gang by establishing contact with Yasin’s anguished mother (Seema Biswas).
The chase is on and the ATS have a duty to save innocent lives but who is deemed innocent is the larger question? Politics and communal agendas are part of the framework of a much bigger objective here- which of course is meant to be a surprise.
The performances are neat, the tempo is involving and the telling, though fragmented, juggles into place most times. The narrative spiel allows for a twist at the end which, though contrived, pulls off a shocker. The script could have been sharper and shiftier, instead, it falls into a pattern that feels predictive and obvious at times. This would have been a humdinger of a film if the writer had the courage to call a spade a spade but that was not to be.
Instead what we get is a fabricated yarn that neatly pulls off the end twist without going full throttle to nab the real culprits. While institutions of power will be misused by the conscienceless it is the duty of the filmmaker to pinpoint the systemic lacunae without being afraid of the consequences to his work. The narrative doesn’t hit you as hard as it should and that’s a problem when you are telling a story about the overbearing State’s excesses. Dakxin makes a half-hearted dab at that, at best!