Huff huff, this standoff between a cop and his suspect by ‘tyro’ helmer Amit Kumar makes you search for a handcuff to imprison the cop and shoot the criminal.
A good reason why Anurag Kashyap should now ‘rebel’ with himself for a change and make a sugary rom com or a no brainer to confuse this already baffled Kaum (people) of his followers who in their admirable innocence fail to understand that style, radicalism and sensationalism should marry a convincing content for a long lasting relationship.
MONSOON SHOOTOUT is a bafflingly juggled version of RUN LOLA RUN with the raw, edgy and elements of ultra violence inspired from the videshi Taratino to our desi flag bearer of radical cinema Kashyap, Bhardwaj packed in gritty, hip and gory envelope which clearly exposes the director Amit Kumar’s over ambition to be a cool, arty, dark de noir worshipper.
Opening perfectly as ordered by the modern cult de noir doctors, a rainy chaotic Mumbai welcomes the audience in MONSOON SHOOTOUT. An oxcart blocks a car path in a narrow alley. A real estate developer sitting in the car is hacked to death in a snap by the Axe Man – the gruesome hit man, a.k.a. Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Shiva works for the local slum lord.
Freshly appointed police constable, Adi (Vijay Varma) is in the company of a senior cop Khan (Neeraj Kabi), Adi and Khan are given the orders to bust the extortion campaign run by Slum Lord (R. Balasubramanian). On a rain drenched Mumbai night, Adi sees the suspect Axe Killer Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and chases him down an alley. While running through the shanty wet rain dipped lanes, Shiva is about to make his escape by jumping over a wall. Adi comes at the right time pointing his gun towards Shiva, it’s time to take the call for Adi – whether to shoot Shiva without evidence or.. Brilliant till now.
Sadly, from here the movie suddenly goes on a trance and mistakenly starts believing that the audience in general will also follow suit. Shot in striking slow-motion, Adi is found in the middle of debate with his consciousness about “the right path, the wrong path and the middle path.” adage bestowed in his household by his father and he starts imagining in three different versions, which could symbolize the after effect of his action taken when he chooses right, wrong or middle paths.
Each segment is roughly around 30-minute it stars with that brilliantly crafted slow motion shot of Adi holding a gun and coming back again for another version. This turns repetitive and the audience starts losing interest as they are now aware that it’s imaginary.
The problem with MONSOON SHOOTOUT is that all the moral consciousness that Adi goes through appears intriguing on paper but the combat of consciousness comes at the wrong point turning to be a lesson on bad timing. If the debate on right and wrong occurred at intervals while Adi is investigating the case, it could have turned out to be a tout thriller.
Further for the normal audience it’s extremely difficult to digest the scenario of a cop holding a loaded gun imagining things without pressing the trigger while the suspect is standing still and not making a move. Hey wait buddy let me think, stand at ease till I figure my moralities out. Come on, the gimmick may baffle for sometime but it won’t last long. However it was a relief that the maker spared the suspect with such illusions otherwise the audience would have to bear the dilemma of the suspect as well.
Adding more masala and chutney to the wounds is the performance of Vijay Varma who plays the lead. It’s not at all bad but the actor falls short to give nuances to such complex character which is encountered by frequent conflicts of interest. Vijay Varma at the best is just passable.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shiva the alleged axe man, the suspect is in his comfort zone and the actor uses his body language as a prop to deliver yet another striking performance but the menace is not memorable as RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0, the axe does remind of the brilliantly made dark de noir thriller by Kashyap for a moment but it disappears very soon.
Balasubramanian as the slum lord makes an impact, in fact it’s the supporting cast and technical finesse that saves this film from a complete disaster and pulls it to an average category. Geetanjali Thapa as the nurse, Farhan Mohammad Hanif Shaikh as Shiva’s son and Sreejita De as Shiva’s mistress all have their moments. Neeraj Kabi is fine. Unfortunately the talent of an actress like Tannishtha Chatterjee is underutilized in this film.
Rajeev Ravi’s brilliant camerawork that covers the torrential rain gives the film its required dark tone while composer-singer Gingger Shankar’s score fits the mood of the genre.
In the end, MONSOON SHOOTOUT can be concluded remembering the iconic lines from the 1966 masterpiece THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (those who want to relate the name of this Hollywood epic with MONSOON SHOOTOUT three path concept, you are free to do so) when Tuco Ramirez (Eli Wallach gets cornered by a bounty hunter while he is taking a bath, the bounty hunter starts lecturing as he is about to shoot Tuco, Tuco then shoots down the bounty hunter with his gun in the soapy, bubbly water and mouths the iconic line, “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk!”, ironically the audience might be sharing the same sentiment while watching Adi holding the gun and going into a trance again and again in this film.