Rating: 1.5/5 Stars (One and a half stars)
Star Cast: Arunoday Singh, Anupam Kher, Mahie Gill, Anchal Dwivedi, Pallavi Joshi, Vivek Vaswani
Director: Vivek Agnihotri
What’s Good: The interesting style of story-telling!
What’s Bad: Propagandist content that is clearly far from objectivity.
Loo Break: Yes please!
Watch or Not?: Buddha In A Traffic Jam is a film that must be missed by those who have a poor knowledge of issues such as Naxals in India and their motives. For those in the know, you will realise how provocative this film is towards selling a mindset.
Vikram Pandit (Arunoday Singh) is an MBA student at a top notch business school. Highly opinionated and easily influential, Vikram develops a keen interest in one of his professors, Rakesh Batki’s (Anupam Kher) approach of teaching.
Looking at Vikram’s skills, the professor starts to share with his students the materials of writing that he wants Vikram to spread through the youth calling his own. Giving talks on the issues of corruption and the injustice of the downtrodden, Vikram soon becomes a popular student speaker.
When Batki’s wife’s boutique business of pottery work by tribals stops receiving government grants, the professor gives his students an assignment to raise funds for it. Vikram’s business model turns out to be an extremely well built one but that irks his professor since it wipes out all middlemen from the business thus, leading to the impossibility of money laundering carried out by the Naxals.
Is Vikram’s life in danger from the Naxalites? Will he learn the difference between a true revolution and propaganda?
Buddha In A Traffic Jam Review: Script Analysis
Buddha In A Traffic Jam posters portrayed Anupam Kher and Arunoday Singh’s faces and had letters splashed across it which read Socialism Vs Capitalism. Reverse to that, what we are served in this film is much more communism than socialism.
Vivek Agnihotri (writer & director) throws in a ton of ideals in this film. There are images being thrown in your faces which show the disparity of lives between the metros and the tribal towns like Bastar which are currently suffering from both Government as well as Naxal pressure.
On a larger angle, it looks like Agnihotri aspires to solve all of these problems by just involving the beer-drinking, weed-smoking, unhesitant about casual sex, social-media crazy youth. What forms a major problem here is that the script is talking about IIT bred, MBA students who have no clue about their surroundings. They are unaware about the red tape violence and the problem is that they don’t care.
In one of the scenes, Agnihotri’s protagonist, Vikram who he portrays to be the ‘revolutionary’ guy gives out the silliest of dialogue like, “A sexy woman has no substance and a women with substance are rarely sexy and if you are looking for both then they are married women”.
His storytelling format is like a book which takes off from prologue to epilogue and has chapters in between which is decently interesting. The script seems to have a forced irony and drama element to it which instantly puts one off. Whilst trying to rid out stereotypes and biases, the writers end up re-enforcing them at multiple points.
Pre-interval, the film is busy preaching us what the situation of tribes in India is. Why the concept of ‘rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer’ prevails and how corruption is connected to this and of course why Naxalism is a much graver issue than Kashmir in India today.
In the second half, the story encircles on the aspect of ‘what leads people to Naxalism’. The film even ends with a Mao Zedong quote, leaving you perplexed as to what are you propagating with this.
Buddha In A Traffic Jam Review: Star Performance
Arunoday Singh puts up a decent performance in this film. I particularly found his heavy accent jarring for the character that he is portraying. For most of the film, he remains quite faithful to the script and thus as and when the plot fails, his acting sinks too.
Anupam Kher turns out to be a big disappointment in this film. His character is of a professor or should we say a recruiter for the red tape members is highly flawed. He even gets a minor monologue towards the end that is completely cringe-worthy.
Mahie Gill does what she is expected to do which is to look seductive in a Saree without any reason or connection to her character. Other than flaunting her cleavage and pulling off a poorly captured sex scene, she falters in scenes where she has powerful dialogues, thus making her inclusion a clear case of adding glamour to the politically driven film.
Pallavi Joshi gets a tiny role and is highly under used with a character that hardly has any importance to the plot.
Anchal Dwivedi as Pooja, Vikram’s college mate is the weakest actor in this film. Her act of the drunken, bold girl is a sheer headache to watch.
Buddha In A Traffic Jam Review: Direction, Music
Vivek Agnihotri plans to make this film all artsy with his content and even with its execution too. He tries to do the aforementioned by inserting heady camera work. The typical agile movements of a drunk mind with hazy camera and minor lighting changes based on symbolism. Of course, hardly any of it works since the plot itself is quite a heavy dosage of Advil.
The music is contemporary and inserted with much intelligence in the film.
In a couple of scenes, the editing slips poorly as the dubbing overlay is done shoddily.
In one of the recent interviews, the director had said “India needs freedom from mediocrity, inefficiency and incompetence”. Well, we could just say it would have been wiser if he would have weighed his script on all three above mentioned grounds before making this film.
Buddha In A Traffic Jam Review: The Last Word
Buddha In A Traffic Jam is a propagandist film in the garb of a political satire. It preaches more than what it can practice. I am going with a 1.5/5 for this film.
Buddha In A Traffic Jam Trailer
Buddha In A Traffic Jam releases on 13th May, 2016.
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