200 Halla Ho Movie Review Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 stars
Star Cast: Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, Barun Sobti, Indraneil Sengupta, Upendra Limaye, Saloni Batra and ensemble.
Director: Sarthak Dasgupta (IMDb credits Alok Batra as co-director)
What’s Good: It is a wake-up call to our collective privilege to see what happens around us or outside our high rises and doesn’t reach us. Atrocities, the caste-class divide is almost running the system & this is a real story.
What’s Bad: The over-the-top approach to many things, and a one-tone character given to Amol Palekar, which he tries to make gold of.
Loo Break: Take it if you want to
Watch or Not?: The film’s blueprint is not something we haven’t seen, but the story is definitely one that everyone needs to know. A major part of this happened for real and you must know about it.
Available on: Zee 5 Premium
I suggest reading an in-depth feature about the Akku Yadav Execution case in The Guardian (dated September 16, 2005). It talks about a mob of 200 women entering the court and lynching their predator, who exploited many of them physically and mentally for over a decade in Nagpur. 200 Halla Ho takes its inspiration from there and almost stays on the real story with some creative liberties.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Script Analysis
Back in 2004, Nagpur woke up to the most bizarre of murders it had ever seen. 200 women from Kasturba Nagar, who were not just harassed but many of them raped by Akku Yadav and his gang, killed him together by giving him 70 severe wounds and cutting off his genitals. All of this is in not a dark secret place, but broad daylight in the lobby of Nagpur city court. There’s a lot about this case online. Usha Narayane, on whom Rinku’s Asha is loosely based on still continues to fight. Read and educate yourself.
Coming to 200 Halla Ho the film. Written by Sarthak Dasgupta, Abhijeet Das, and Soumyajit Roy, the movie is inspired by the same story. Following the non-linear format of storytelling, the movie begins with the murder taking place, and we are then slowly explained how why, and what ignited this fire that took the predator with it. The writers do not waste time in setting up the story, which works for the betterment of the entire product.
The story is a reflection of the segment of the society we don’t know or give a side-eye to. How marginalized communities spend their life to get basic respect from society and how the women amid them have more severe battles to fight. It is also a look at the predators exploiting women because either they aren’t equipped to protect themselves, or they don’t have a voice to pull them out.
200 Halla Ho for a significant portion is alarming and gives goosebumps because the disclaimer makes it clear that it happened for real. The writing that takes liberties also creates a hauntingly brutal blueprint. Police brutality, caste politics and gender war are at their peak. When the broth boils it takes the monster with it, but at the cost of 200 ladies being called murderers. Every part the writers were out there making a substantial point I was with them.
But they definitely lost me when started inducing over-the-top things to the script. From the actors talking in idioms (Amol Palekar majorly) to women crying melodramatically, it all seemed acting more than real. The characters don’t get more than the newspaper article we have already read. Rinku Rajguru’s Asha based on real-life Usha is also on the verge of taking up a job in a hotel in Punjab.
She is given a romantic angle with Barun Sobti’s Umesh, but given too much breeze as to it almost became about their love story for a few scenes. We have come way ahead of having a love angle, and a romantic track in every film, but the writers here forget that.
Won’t deny, this is a story tailor-made for a film, but the writers fail to give it the meat it deserves. Watch Pink starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu, it respects every character that graces the screen and gives them a layered universe. 200 Halla Bol fails in that department.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Star Performance
I can’t do this to an Amol Palekar performance, but for an actor of his caliber, the character is too one-toned and doesn’t give him enough to shine, apart from a few scenes. Neither do the dialogues help him because they are mostly idioms, and it seems like he is giving a voice-over even to a scene he is in.
Rinku Rajguru is a wise choice because her Asha is Marathi and her accented Hindi helps. But even her character after a point becomes one-dimensional. Barun Sobti’s cute-eyed charm doesn’t help much to create impact. The actor performs well. Upendra Limaye and Indraneil Sengupta do what they know best.
Let’s address the bad man here. Sahil Khattar, for the most of it, looks like he is vlogging for his YouTube channel Khattarnak but in a villainous way. Not many efforts have been put to create him, Sahil is told to be Sahil, add a bit flirty attitude and the abusive dialogue do the remaining job. I would like to stick my hopes to 83 because don’t want to judge him on this performance really.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Direction, Music
Sarthak Dasgupta as a director focuses more on drama and less on the subtlety of it all. The story in itself has enough drama, and inducing more only makes it a TV serial. Also, how many more OTT courtroom scenes do we have to deal with till we get our next Pink or Mulk? By now, we all know lawyers don’t run across a court while presenting their case, and there are no 100 people present in a room while hearing.
The music album has a romantic track that makes no point in the story. The haunting track in the end credits is what deserves a mention.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: The Last Word
Reading the story online gave me enough chills and I expected the on-screen execution to be equally haunting. Till a point it was, but the drama took over. Watch it if you can ignore a few things.
200 Halla Ho Trailer
200 Halla Ho releases on 20th August 2021.
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