India Lockdown Review
As seen throughout his filmography, Madhur Bhandarkar's approach to filmmaking strives to delve into the realities and the darker side of society. With "India Lockdown," he makes another attempt to do that by exposing how the Covid-19 pandemic, especially the 'lockdown', had impacted the daily lives of different segments of society through his lens. Making a movie on an occurrence that every person alive today experienced is a gutsy move in and of itself. But did the movie genuinely strike the chord it intended to do? Here's what I think about it.
Thoughtful segregation in subplots
The movie depicts four parallel stories, each of which explores a particular societal subset and age group. The selection of these subplots comes under one of the wisest decisions of the filmmaker, striking a balance between relatability(disseminating the lives of a teenage couple anxiously awaiting their meeting) and hitting on a less-discussed topic (showcasing the life alterations for a prostitute during the pandemic days). It seeks to keep hold of the emotional quotient with a migrant worker's struggles, layering rationality through an over-cautious single father's approach towards the virus.
Unnecessary sex appeal
A teenage couple stranded in the pandemic has one goal—to have sex and lose their virginity—and is ignorant of the severity of the outbreak. Because she has no other company, a female pilot, probably in her mid-thirties (Ahana Kumra), who is represented as being independent and sensible, gets attracted to a teenage lad and eventually succeeds in enticing him.
Well, it doesn't end here , and I haven't even begun to discuss Shweta Basu's narrative (PS. She plays a prostitute ). A migrant worker sets off on foot to travel to their village in Bihar with his wife and children. Another horny worker has his sights set on Phoolmati (Sai Tamhankar) throughout the journey and thereafter tries to harass her.
Was everyone truly as horny during the lockdown? You'll undoubtedly wonder this by the end of the film.
Execution and treatment
Despite the fact that the film touches on some of the most sensitive and relatable themes, you won't really sympathize with the character's situation. Still needed is the emotional component, it seems. The story is poorly packaged and executed, and the screenplay stumbles occasionally. There is no significant character development or story arch, so even one hour and fifty minutes feel stretched. However, watching it will undoubtedly take you to 2020 as it captures the gritty details of the lives of the typical individual, with references like 'corona special Whatsapp forwards' to 'daaru peene se sab theek hojayga'.
Prateik Babbar as Madhav steals the show. His characterization and acting have conviction. If it's any character in the film who can manage to get a tear in your eye it will be Prateik for sure. From evoking the right emotions to carrying the film, he does it soulfully. Sai Tamhankar as Phoolmati offers much-needed support to Madhav's character and does her part diligently. Shweta Basu as Mehru is yet another strong character who keeps hold of the story with her acting and delivers her best. Ahana Kumra's character as Moon Alves will annoy you more often than not and isn't actually a well-written one. Prakash Belawadi as Nageshwar does what he is told to and is quite sincere with it.
The other characters play their parts but don't shine owing to poor writing.
Rating: **1/2 stars (2.5/5)