Movie Review: India Lockdown Despite some fine performances and touching moments, INDIA LOCKDOWN suffers due to poor writing.

Movie Review: India Lockdown Despite some fine performances and touching moments, INDIA LOCKDOWN suffers due to poor writing.
Movie Review: India Lockdown Despite some fine performances and touching moments, INDIA LOCKDOWN suffers due to poor writing.

<a href=””><strong>INDIA LOCKDOWN</strong></a> is the story of six characters during the Covid crisis. In March 2020, the cases of Covid-19 begin to increase across the world, including in India. On March 24, the Government of India announces a nationwide lockdown for three weeks. Nageshwar Rao (Prakash Belawadi) stays alone in a highrise in Mumbai along with his pet dog, Bruno. He is all set to fly to Hyderabad to be with his pregnant daughter, Swati (Hrishitaa Bhatt). Due to the lockdown, his plans go kaput as all flights are suspended. He gets paranoid when his neighbour tests positive for Covid-19 and is hospitalized. Days before the lockdown imposition, Nageshwar had asked his maid Phoolmati (<a href=””><strong>Saie Tamhankar</strong></a>) to stop coming to his house since the society had barred entry of servants. He gives her two months’ salary in advance, though. But it’s not enough for her and her husband Madhav Prakash (<a href=””><strong>Prateik Babbar</strong></a>), who runs a chaat stall. During the lockdown, their financial situation deteriorates. Madhav learns that some people from his slum, who are also from Bihar, are all set to go back to their hometowns on foot. Madhav decides to join them along with Phoolmati and his two children. Mehrunissa (<a href=””><strong>Shweta Basu Prasad</strong></a>) is a prostitute in a red-light area in Mumbai. Since Covid spreads through contact, her work suffers. On the advice of her pimp Tipu (Saanand Verma), she decides to go for phone sex and charge customers for it. Things, however, soon take a sour turn for her. Lastly, Dev (Satvik Bhatia), a student, has shifted to his uncle’s place after his uncle went to Himachal. He and his girlfriend Palak (Zarin Shihab) plan to lose their virginity on March 25 in the former’s house. Their plans also get cancelled due to the lockdown imposition. Palak’s father, meanwhile, is very strict and doesn’t allow her to leave the house at all. Dev strikes up a friendship with his neighbour, Moon Alves (<a href=””><strong>Aahana Kumra</strong></a>), a pilot, who gets attracted to him. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

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Amit Joshi, Aradhana Sah and Madhur Bhandarkar’s story is fine and documents the traumas that several people went through during the Covid crisis. Amit Joshi, Aradhana Sah and Madhur Bhandarkar’s screenplay is pacy and boasts of some good moments. However, the writing has several loose ends. Also, it gives a bit of an incomplete feeling and one wishes they had shown a little bit more about Covid-related problems, especially the ones faced by the medical community. Amit Joshi, Aradhana Sah and Madhur Bhandarkar’s dialogues are okay and should have been well-worded, especially the conversations between Dev and Moon.

Madhur Bhandarkar’s direction is fair. To give credit where it’s due, it reminds viewers of the hardships they faced 2 years back. Everyone is sure to go back in time and revisit their experiences in early 2020. At the same time, he focuses on some not-so-known aspects that might have taken place during the pandemic. For instance, the manner in which the politician roams around in an ambulance so that no one will stop his vehicle is quite amusing. Also, Madhur Bhandarkar subtly plays out the contrast in the lives of people at that time, especially between the haves and have-nots. Madhav and his family have no choice but to have rotten bananas and on the other hand, the affluent Moon is utilizing the free time in lockdown to prepare banana bread. Similarly, Nageshwar Rao is dying to meet his daughter as she’s heavily pregnant and she needs him. And on the other hand, Dev is dying to meet Palak simply because he wants to have sex with her. The 112-minute long film doesn’t bore even for a moment and the nail-biting moments in the climax are worth watching.

On the flipside, the film is too depressing and is not everyone’s cup of tea. The bigger problem, however, is that certain developments are bewildering, due to the absence of a back story. Viewers never come to know who else is there in Swati’s family. Does she have a husband or has she separated? Was she all alone in Hyderabad and is that why her father was desperate to be by her side? Secondly, Moon’s track also raises questions as her family background is never established. Also, with flights grounded indefinitely, she didn’t seem worried about her pay. Mehrunissa’s track is difficult to digest since her profession is such that its members must have got massively affected by the pandemic. But the sex workers seem to be relaxing during the lockdown period. Mehrunissa’s change of heart in the pre-climax is also not convincing. Lastly, viewers will be left confused about whether Phoolmati recognized Nageshwar’s tiffin in the crucial scene in the finale.

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>India Lockdown | Web Series | Official Trailer | Shweta Basu Prasad, Prateek Babbar, Sai Tamankar | Only On ZEE5</strong></span>

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Speaking of performances, Shweta Basu Prasad’s track is weak but her performance is first-rate. She gets into the skin of the character and puts up a confident act. After THE TASHKENT FILES [2019] and SERIOUS MEN [2020], she proves once again why she’s one of the finest performers around. Prakash Belawadi is dependable and apt for the part. The scene where he breaks into a dance is adorable. Prateik Babbar looks every inch a migrant and is impressive. Sai Tamhankar also puts her best foot forward. Saanand Verma is passable. Satvik Bhatia is good but his dialogue delivery seems a bit rehearsed. Zarin Shihab leaves a huge mark. The same goes for Aahana Kumra. Chahat Tewani (Titli), Antim Maheshwari (Kapasi; politician), Vickey Vikas (Gabru; who blackmails Mehrunissa), Bharat Bhatia (Khosla; Nageshwar’s Covid positive patient), Lalit Parashar (Manoj bhai; neighbour), Chitra Mulani (Manoj’s wife), Gopal Singh (Charandas; lecherous migrant) and Manu Malik (Palak’s father) are fair.

Rohit Kulkarni’s music is forgettable. All three songs of the film – <em>’Ghor Bhasad’, ‘Loot Loongi'</em> and <em>’Unlock Me'</em> – fail to entice. Rohit Kulkarni’s background score is passable.

Keiko Nakahara and Palash Das’s cinematography is neat. Shamim Kopkar’s production design is realistic. Harish Shetty’s action is minimal but quite real. Shefalina Gupta’s costumes are also straight out of life. The ones worn by Zarin Shihab and Aahana Kumra are glamorous. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing is praiseworthy as the jump from one track to another is smooth.

On the whole, INDIA LOCKDOWN rests on some fine performances and touching moments. But the film suffers majorly due to poor writing.

What do you think?

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