More than an artsy film, for me it was an extraordinary sensory experience. The Sound Design (even the local train passing by haunted the scene), the captivating Mindset (frames) and the dilemma (psychological) overwhelmed the viewing. So it’s raining cats and dogs in Mumbai, the damp slums, the grungy walls, the corrupt minds, the seducing motive, raining bullets, blood and a dilemma sum up into the three perspective of Amit Kumar’s “Monsoon Shootout”. Premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival followed by the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2015 where I missed the film, finally after 5 years Amit Kumar’s noir thriller releases calmly.
“There are three different paths — right, wrong and the middle one. You will be at peace when you choose one, but it will be a tough decision.” says Adi’s (Vijay Verma) Mother before he leaves for the first day of his Police field training. On that day, he faces a dilemma whether to shoot the accuse (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) or not. Director-Writer Amit Kumar explores the psychological, social and moralistic questions in his three-dimensional venture. Though it’s a confusing narrative, the last impact (precisely, the dialogue) engulfs its flaws and makes it a thought-provoking dilemma. The repercussions of the three ways- shoot, not to shoot and shooting in the knee find him behind the desk job.
So should the film be lauded? Certainly. Director Amit Kumar must be lauded for an innovative and challenging narrative put forward with an amazing cast. The structure of the story-telling is fresh even though few cliched blockades like typical portrayal of gangster, the RGV-Anurag Kashyap style world interfere – but the considerate amount of years went by could justify them. However, the confusing execution and retaining into the dark spaces more than the psychology (may be it could be a metaphor) leaves the audience baffled.
After a certain point, the perspectives become predictable even though they are quite impressive. The violence is smartly reduced to interesting inter-cuts like a fisher-woman chopping the head of a mackerel. In the crucial moral dilemma sequence, the voice-over feels unnecessary – it spoils the moment. Uplifted by Cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) and Editing (Atanu Mukherjee), the execution on the technical part is brilliant. And was the Arijit Singh’s song necessary? Take a moment, retrieve the thought and reboot yourself from his voice. An artsy plot which satisfies the appetite and the curiosity of central character, doesn’t need a contemporary singer backing character’s soul.
Last seen in “Pink” (2016), though this was supposed to be his debut film – Vijay Varma is the highlight of the film, a terrific performance woven by nuances and honesty. At times, he even overshadows Nawazuddin. Nawazuddin is the Amitabh Bachchan of Indie Films, now its time not to review him because he has stepped beyond it. (Right?)
“Do you think the end justifies the means?” – Amit Kumar successfully tries to. And there is a fourth perspective summing up a sublime cinematic experience.
Release: 15 December, 2017
Director: Amit Kumar
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