Film Review: Monsoon Shootout
Amit Kumar’s exploration of the idea of expansion of a moment in time and what-ifs gives noir thriller Monsoon Shootout its experimental structure. Set in the underbelly of Mumbai, most of the action unfolds at the murky intersection of law enforcement, politicians, builders and criminals. Adi, a new recruit to the crime branch, is being mentored by hardened inspector Khan (Neeraj Kabi), who has long overcome his conscience.
Drenched in torrential rain, Adi (Vijay Varma) is facing a moral dilemma. As he centres suspected axe-murderer Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) in the crosshairs, Adi is faced with three options—the right one, the wrong one, and the one in between. Kumar expands each of these scenarios and posits the consequences of each of those choices. But is there a fourth scenario that Adi has not envisaged?
As he sees his life flash before his eyes, as it were, there are some elements and events in the future that change every time while a few remain constant, such as his attraction towards doctor Anu (Geetanjali Thapa). The other characters who appear in every scenario, but whose lives are dramatically affected by his decisions, are Shiva’s wife (Tannishtha Chatterjee), son and mistress (Sreejita De). The greatest impact is on Adi himself.
As each possibility plays out, the clock resets back to the face off. A train thunders past, a streetlight blinks on and off, the rain is pelting down, but the question remains, what happens now?
Vijay Varma delivers a serviceable performance as the conflicted newbie who wants a clear conscience. Thapa, Chatterjee, De and Kabi add layers to their characters, while Siddiqui is expectedly sinister, although underutilised.
There’s nothing superfluous in the storytelling. The cinematography, the relentless rain, the background music and the tension between Shiva and Adi give Monsoon Shootout its mood and intensity. But the editing is abrupt at times. It feels like the characters are missing a dimension that would make them less like characters in a tableau. So although Kumar’s film is emotionally wanting, it is technically accomplished and skilfully engaging.
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