This Film Is Thrice As Good
Monsoon Shootout is by no means the end of our search for the ideal chor-police movie. But there is so much going in this compelling, slow-burning, well-enacted tale set in the dark, grimy underbelly of Mumbai that you can applaud the effort of debutant director Amit Kumar. Inspired by the 1987 Polish film, Blind Chance, or rather the more famous 1998 German thriller, Run Lola Run, it narrates the story again, this time in three different scenarios. The city's rains play a pivotal role in it.
The film takes you through the journey of a rookie cop, Adi (Vijay Varma). Having been appointed to the crime branch, he is reminded of the principles that his deceased father believed in. There are three paths that one can take in his/her life, his mother reminds him. They are the right, the wrong path, and the middle path. This principle forms the crux of the story.
Set to work along with the hot-headed senior office Khan (Neeraj Kabi), Adi finds himself handling an extortion campaign, run by local kingpin, the slumlord (R Balasubramanian).
Adi is told to track down a hitman, suspected to be Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). They lay a trap. Once Shiva is in sight, Adi chases him down an alley. It is here that he has to take the decisive decision of shooting him, or not. From here, the film is replayed thrice, each with a different version, highlighting how Adi's life unfolds depending on his decision.
The film shines in its ability to make you question your loyalty. This is where the storytelling excels. You find yourself rooting for one character, and no later, your heart aches for another's victory. The film works even better because the characters are given a free rein over the proceedings. For instance, Shiva's son, Chhotu's character (played brilliantly by Farhan Mohammad Hanif Shaikh) varies from being innocent to taking revenge.
The performances are striking. Varma plays his part perfectly, so does Kabi. Tannishtha Chatterjee as Shiva's wife is convincing. Siddiqui's performance is remarkable, but since he's been essaying the same kinds of roles, it also seems monotonous. The movie also has the usual clichés, like Adi meeting his ex-flame Anu (Geetanjali Thapa), who has now become a nurse. A song featuring the two looks forced. But this one's surely worth a watch.