Star Cast: Shweta Basu Prasad, Aahana Kumra, Prateik Babbar, Sai Tamhankar and Prakash Belawadi
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
What’s Good: Few Scenes that managed to evoke emotions, especially about migrant workers and s*x workers
What’s Bad: Lack of compelling background score and few cringy, dialogues and scenes.
Loo Break: Avoid taking a break during the migrant workers and s*x workers scenes, you may miss some gruesome scenes!
Watch or Not?: Definitely Yes
Available on: Zee5
Runtime: 2 hours 33 minutes
I don’t think anybody can forget the frightful day of March 24, 2020, when PM Narendra Modi appeared on national television to announce the nationwide complete lockdown for the next 21 days, beginning from midnight, owing to the outbreak of COVID-19. What followed was a series of lockdowns that lasted for nearly 18 months.
After three years of the initial 21-day nationwide complete lockdown announcement, Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown — takes you back to those dark times. The filmmaker did make an earnest attempt to recreate the horrors that everyone felt in different ways with the onset of the pandemic with four parallel stories detailing varied aspects of human emotions and dilemmas.
India Lockdown Movie Review: Script Analysis
Madhur Bhandar tried to pick on diverse elements and narrates their tales with minute details. Prakash Belawadi playing Mr. Rao, a well-to-do man taking all the precautions seriously, suddenly fires his maid and starts doing all the chores for himself. Rao was also irked by other problems, which were predominantly seen during the lockdown, like long queues outside grocery stores, mandatory health checks, home quarantine, and reluctance to wear masks.
The filmmaker brilliantly included problems faced by young couples getting restless and not being able to go out on dates. Commercial pilot Aahana Kumra who is stuck in her apartment due to the lockdown turned into a home chef and began trying new recipes every day.
On the other hand, there is Shweta Basu Prasad as the prostitute Mehru and Prateik Babbar-Sai Tamhankar as Madhav and Phoolmati. All these characters face their own challenges during the lockdown. Everyone has a story to tell and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tried to showcase how the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown affected different strata of society. However, there’s a fly in the ointment: very few scenes managed to evoke emotions in me especially the scenes about migrants and s*x workers, and how adversely their life got affected while dealing with bare minimum resources for survival.
He made the film in such a way that every member of the audience can relate to it. The story about an s*x worker in Mumbai’s Kamathipura was a mix of joy and sorrow. Even though they couldn’t do their job that involved physical touch, they find ways to crack a joke at each other and stay happy in difficult times.
India Lockdown Movie Review: Star Performance
More than the story and screenplay, the winner in India Lockdown is its casting and nuanced performances from each of the actors. In fact, Prateik Babbar’s performance as a migrant worker stood out. Madhav (Pratiek) along with his wife Phoolmati (Sai Tamhankar) faces the most gruesome challenges when the lockdown was enforced.
It was heartwrenching to see migrant workers walk miles every day in scorching heat without food and water for several days. Prateik played his role brilliantly. He emotes his part so well that he lets the pain his character is going through moved me to tears. In another sequence, Madhav digs into a pile of garbage looking for some food- that was so distressing and left a lump in my throat.
Sai Tamhankar, too, is very strong and convincing on her part. As for Shweta Basu Tripathi (Mehrunissa) played her role quite convincingly. In fact, body language, mannerisms, accent, and everything is just on point. However, there were a few dialogues, and scenes, which made me uncomfortable and even cringe.
It is also worth pointing out that I felt Aahana Kumra, who just got sick of work-from-home arrangements, went a tad bit overboard with her character in terms of its look and the way she talks and behaves. M Nageshwar Rao and his pregnant daughter Swathi (Hrishita Bhatt), who were stuck in different cities, played their role convincingly.
India Lockdown Movie Review: Direction, Music
Madhur Bhandarkar is well known for his hard-hitting and realistic films. He indeed kept things pretty much real without adding melodramatic twists and turns. Even though the film did not give me much time to think in between, very few scenes managed to move me, especially the scenes that involved migrant workers.
The filmmaker did bring out closer to reality in the most real way. And the absence of any song or dance sequence is just a bonus. He missed other aspects like a compelling background score.
India Lockdown Movie Review: The Last Word
Madhur Bhandarkar did capture the essence of these human stories which is the most relatable aspect of the film. Gladly enough, he did not take the preachy route of giving us moral lessons through his film. All in all, it’s a good watch and it will definitely take you back to the early difficult days of the lockdown.
India Lockdown Trailer
India Lockdown releases on 02 December, 2022.
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