India’s Most Wanted Movie Review
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma, Gaurav Mishra
With India’s Most Wanted, director Raj Kumar Gupta does the unimaginable. He makes suspense look boring. What’s more, tangled. And painfully monotonous, similar to a Neeraj Pandey thriller on an awful (good) day. The movie, inspired by true occasions(events), spins around a four-day manhunt for a puzzling terrorist (“Ghost”) by a covert Bihar police outfit in Nepal. Yet, the film is planned such that makes us question the reality of these events. Which, ironically, is one approach to erase and mock the inheritance of Abdul Subhan Qureshi, the bomb-making fear terrorist purportedly in charge of serial blasts across India. As if to tell him: “You are a monster so fanatical that you deserve a bad movie about our mission to capture you.”
Possibly the issue is Arjun Kapoor. As Prabhat, the poker-faced (I get the Argo hangover, but at least Affleck guided himself) group leader with a flawless record, Kapoor, not for the first time, employs a gaze so empty and disinterested that everybody and everything in his region is reduced to a head-part hamfest so as to compensate for his dormancy. He spends vast majority of the film shadowing people that are faster and more louder than him – waiting at paan slows down, taking cover behind pillars, attempting to look as unremarkable as a beefed-up picture star with a microphone stuck into his ear – while his subordinates warn him in different tones of exaggerated alert that “Sir, Kuch toh gadbad hai”. A backstory (the caring that suits John Abraham heroes: a damaged ex-commando maybe, or a numbed loner) might have lent context to Prabhat’s body language. In short, Kapoor’s absence of acting ability here forces the film to act the hell out of each minute.
The first symptom of an urgently paced Hindi film is its feeling of background music. There are times in India’s Most Wanted where the boss (Rajesh Sharma) and his blue-eyed kid are talking about the coordination of a plan, however the score – a string of mismatched songs that nearly spoofs the “sur” of each scene – rather proposes a steamy roleplay sequence between a housewife and a plumber. An elevator version of a love ballad dots the urgent montages of Kapoor and his colleagues cross-examining their way across airy Nepal. A saucy trumpet riff finishes up an SUV pursue towards the border as though the gatekeepers were going to break into an unconstrained burst of topless Samba. If I somehow happened to close my eyes and take out the dialogue, the film’s soundscape – Amit Trivedi’s bafflingly unremarkable tracks and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s kindergarten-level lyrics included – appears to have been formed by instrumentalists who may have rather been asked to musically interpret the substance from ‘India Shining’ campaign videos. There is no other clarification.
There are, obviously, the other common signs. Pictures of happy people in open spots are cut short by a stunning blast, just for the screen to go dark, followed by real stills of the massacre and the melodious voiceover of an existential terrorist who thinks he is Rumi reborn. In fact, it’s his deep eyes that give him away – in a shot that lasts so long that it starts before the interval and ends a decent ten minutes into the second half. At the point when his face is finally revealed, it is interspersed with flashbacks of similarly injured youngsters and dead women from the blast spots to help us that Kapoor’s pursuit of him was essential to our life. There’s also an entirely futile narrative track of the group shadowing their essential source – a weird Muslim man who appears to have grown up on Dilip Kumar motion pictures – wherever short of Everest to check whether he is legitimate and trustworthy.
Which is all to state that India’s Most Wanted is a tragic waste of its source material. A genuine life requested the exposed knuckled Paul Greengrass, Kathryn Bigelow or Delhi Crime treatment. The feasibility of the story itself is the film. Yet, the language it uses – that of Kabir Khan and Neeraj Pandey spy/action dramas – is more fit for the fetishization of a make-believe genre. As though the director doesn’t believe us to understand that catching terrorists is not an unremarkable 9-to-5 work. This, in any case, sorts of clarifying the coming-of-age soundtrack. Forget finding the bad guys; I hope they found themselves.