Mumbai, circa 2003. A relentless battle ensues In the city’s backstreets between the underworld and the Mumbai police. Director Kabeer Kaushik’s new film ‘Maximum’ opens with a shot of a bloody and injured policeman running towards a train. This is our introduction to Pratap Pandit (Sonu Sood), a rising star in the police force. We later learn there is ruthless rivalry between Pandit and Arun Inaamdar (Naseeruddin Shah), a senior officer, although we don’t really know why.
Many such things are unexplained in Kaushik’s film. The script is a mess, and the film depends more on stylized shots and plenty of posturing. Sood shows off a cultivated swagger in all his scenes. Staccato dialogue delivery passes off as intense acting. Shah’s role is so poorly etched that his modus operandi is never clear, giving the veteran actor little to sink his teeth into.
Poorly etched: Naseeruddin Shah.
As the collusions and ambitions of politicians, the police, builders and informers play out, the film accelerates five years to 2008. By now, guns have been silenced along with the underworld, but 26/11 is imminent. Inaamdar and Pandit are still at war, and we are still unclear why.
The only performances that stand out are Vinay Pathak as Tiwari, the politician with a sympathetic leaning towards Pandit, and Amit Sadh as the TV reporter who becomes a part of Pandit’s coterie. Kaushik and co-writer Rakhi Soman might have based their research on true events and characters, but they have been unable to weave these incidents cohesively.
This tedious muddle is further hampered by dull editing and jarring music. There is maximum reason to give this film a miss.
‘Maximum’ released in theatres on Friday.