It is dark, distressing and deeply disturbing, like most, Madhur Bhandarkar films. After feeble attempts with TRAFFIC SIGNAL and FASHION, Madhur roars in form once again. JAIL will have you thinking.
The National Award winning director, this time focuses on the tragic lives of those behind bars. The brokenness they have to deal with, the foolishness of that 'one-second anger' that led to murder, which they are now regretting or even how the innocent battle for justice. JAIL is one such story that focuses on the innocence of Parag Dixit (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and slowly unwraps the other areas, which need to be addressed to the common man. If you have an appetite for hardcore reality cinema, 'This Is It'!
Parag is living a dream life with a good position in a multi-national and Mansi (Mugdha Godse), a girlfriend who understands his needs. One day, things take an ugly turn when his car is intercepted by the police. His roommate who is travelling with him, urges him to drive faster when he sees a cop van trailing. However, Parag slows down, while his friend jumps out and starts shooting at the police. Too shocked to understand what has happened in a split second, Parag sees his roommate being hit by a bullet and a bag full of cocaine recovered from the backseat.
It is all a daze for Parag as he is handcuffed and led to the police station and eventually to the lock-up. His only hope of acquittal is his roommate who is in the ICU. His friend had cleverly made deals using Parag's mobile, and all the while Parag thought that it was bad network that had his friend using his phone when at home. As luck would have it, his friend dies and that is the beginning of a fresh ordeal for Parag.
It is not close to what prison cells are but Madhur manages to bring the uneasiness and fear that dwells deep within the prison walls. He touches on corrupt police officials and their nexus between the underworld. But what is most disturbing is that there are many who are languishing behind bars without a proper trial. Some like Parag are even innocent.
Neil Nitin Mukesh gives a powerhouse performance. Easily, his act is worthy of the Best Actor Award in the coming year. Even in his silence, he cries out to you with a deafening roar. His body language and emotions are an absolute stunner. He lends that touch of credibility to his character portraying his vulnerability with an expertise found in veterans.
Arya Babbar as Kabir Malik, a prisoner who works for the underworld, and who scouts for potential sharpshooters in their desperate need to get out of jail is a class act. Studied, and focused, he matches Neil 'frame for frame' with his scenes. Manoj Bajpai as Nawaab, a prisoner who has found favour with the top jail authorities too chips in with a powerful performance. Between these three, they make JAIL what it is.
There are a few loose shots, like Manoj Bajpai's back-story, Ghalib's escape and an old veteran explaining how he landed behind bars despite winning many Government awards. This dilutes the focus and intensity of the film.