Yami Gautam, Neha Dhupia, Atul Kulkarni, Karanvir Sharma, Dimple Kapadia, Kalyanee Mulay, Maya Sarao, Boloram Das, Adi Irani
What’s It About:
When a playschool teacher (Yami Gautam), kidnaps 16 little kids and puts a series of demands, it not only shakes the Mumbai police and the city, but it sends repercussions throughout the country and its politicians. Will the police and authorities be able to capture her and save the innocent kids? Or will the kids get killed in the tussle? Well, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
There is no denying that this is Yami Gautam’s finest performance to date. The actress, who has always been looked upon as a bubbly girl next door in most of her movies, is finally breaking the shell and coming out. Her performance is what keeps you hooked on to the story. The way she emotes making her character look somewhat eccentric is brilliant.
Atul Kulkarni and Neha Dhupia are decent in the limited screen space that they get. Neha Dhupia’s real-life pregnancy has been well incorporated in the writing of the story, so that the shooting doesn’t get disrupted. Dimple Kapadia as the Prime Minister is impressive.
The direction by Behzad Kambata is also on point. He ensures that the story doesn’t sag at any point, and you’re given a taut product.
Another shout out to the editor Sumeet Kotian for bringing in the jump superzoom every time Yami Gautam gives a tantalizing look to the camera. It brings out the eccentricity of the character perfectly.
Kaizad Gherda’s background score brings in the eerie feel as and when needed. It gives in the subtle touch of emotion at the end, and I’m hoping to see more of his work onscreen.
The writing by Ashley Michael Lobo and Behzad Kambata is predictable. At the very start of the film itself, you’ve an inkling that kidnapping little kids, Yami Gautam wouldn’t be all that evil. However, with her powerful performance, you’re slightly made to think otherwise, but as the climax starts approaching, you’re made to realise that what you were thinking all the while, that itself is going to happen. While the writing doesn’t exonerate Yami Gautam legally from the charges of kidnapping little kids, but it ensures that she is given a clean chit morally. If you see it in plain view, what she did isn’t something that’s too different from any gun-shooting incidents we keep hearing in the news about schools in the US. But the writing doesn’t want her to be depicted as a terrorist at the end, and on the contrary, it ensures that she is seen as a victim trying to take revenge against a flawed system. Couldn’t the writing just have been about a hostage drama where the police finally overpower an eccentric woman who kidnapped a school full of kids? Food for thought!
Another flaw with the writing gets seen when the Prime Minister of the country is seen constantly listening to her advisors throwing audience poll figures at her. Which Prime Minister works on social media polls before taking their decisions? That’s beyond comprehension.
At the ending of a hostage thriller, you’re not hoping to see a moral science lesson. This Yami Gautam film does that, and that’s where its fault lies. Despite being very thrilling till the very end, the moral exoneration of the unlawful act by the lead character, sort of, takes the fun away. Had that been done silently and not in an in-your-face way, then it would have definitely been one of the best thrillers of all times in Hindi cinema. However, it’s still a One-Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.