Director: Amit Kumar
Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Tannishtha Chatterjee
A psychological thriller that promises to explore social and moralistic questions can be a gripping one, but Monsoon Shootout fails to engage despite being backed by powerhouse talents such as Nawazauddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Vijay Varma and Tannishtha Chatterjee.
The film is the story of a cop faced with the dilemma of whether he should shoot an accused or not, on the first day of his job. The interactive trailer gave us a gist of the story — it explores all the available options.
Adi (Vijay Varma) bids farewell to his mom as he heads for his first day as a cop. After nervous rehearsals of saluting his seniors, Adi’s mom (Pravina Deshpande) reminds him of his father’s teachings. “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.”
Neeraj Kabi and Vijay Varma in a still from Monsoon Shootout.
And that is the crux of the film. On his first day of training on field, Adi meets his senior, Khan (Neeraj Kabi), who takes him along while chasing a murder accused. Things take a predictable twist and Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the accused, tries to escape when he realises the cops are trailing him. During the chase, Adi meets Shiva in an alley and is faced with the dilemma of whether or not to shoot him.
Director Amit explores all three options — Adi shooting Shiva, letting him escape, and in the third, shooting the accused in the knee, as the middle path.
What if Adi shot an innocent guy? What are the repercussions for Shiva’s family? Would Adi live with the guilt? How will he try to redeem himself if he shoots the wrong guy?
On the other hand, what if he lets a criminal escape? Won’t that mean more ruthless murders in the future? What if, despite choosing the middle path, no justice is served either to Shiva or to his victims or to the people around the main characters?
The director must be lauded for exploring a completely fresh structure of story-telling — one that makes time flexible, keeps the audience wondering what actually happened and what was a figment of imagination and offers a new style of using time. However, it is the confused execution that leaves us baffled.
A clichéd portrayal of the gangster and crime world is another major roadblock hindering the film from becoming a masterpiece. Dim lighting, incessant rains, heartless criminals, conniving politicians and corrupt administration officials is what we have seen in Mumbai gangster films made by Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap over the last three decades.
In fact, during each of the three scenarios in this film that hinges on a moral dilemma, the sequence of events is so predictable it would have turned a bore-fest had it not been for a wonderful set of actors spearheading the narrative.
While Nawazuddin Siddiqui is in his comfort zone — playing a merciless criminal who roams around with a hammer, Neeraj Kabi makes sure none of his acts go overboard. Tannishtha Chatterjee and Geetanjali Thapa have very small roles.
Vijay Varma outshines everyone in the film. He is the kind of actor who makes you forget his face and believe in his character. From guilt to remorse, anger, love and more, Vijay manages to convincingly portray each emotion with the perfect conviction.