A Farhan Akhtar film is never a frivolous entertainment. Carving a niche` for himself with subject-oriented films, LUCKNOW CENTRAL is his latest attempt, woven around musical notes and musicians. The only hitch is, these compulsive-musicians are hardcore criminals lodged in Lucknow central jail.
A jail- break story is not uncommon in Bollywood but here it is presented with a twist.
Crisp narration, excellent background score, fabulous cinematography and a blissful congregation of calibrated actors, feels like getting more than you had bargained for.
Stirring clear of routine jail-break or jail-torture sagas, LUCKNOW CENTRAL is all about human grit and tenacity to triumph against all odds. For these life servers, living a purposeful life brimming with hope and also pursuing their passions within the confines of four walls, keeps them alive and kicking for a better tomorrow.
“Hum chote seher se hai magar hamare sapane chote nahi hai” swears Kishan aka Farhan.
The film is all heart but this heart beats pretty slowly and rather erratically allowing us to wander in between. A quick snip in the first half and doing away with unnecessary explanations of plot build-up could have resulted in tauter version of the same. Languid pace is a major speed-breaker here…. ☹
To director’s credit, life in the prison with depressive surroundings, oppressive rules and aggressive inmates breaking into ugly fights are well shot but are highly predictable.
Lucknow Mail : The Plot
Farhan Akhtar, a struggling singer, in falsely implicated in a murder case. Looking for a way out of this hell-hole, he chances upon inter-jail musical-band competition. In a twist of events, he manages to add four more convicts to his band with a promise of walk to freedom through a daring jail-break, in return. But a conniving jailer ( a super act put up by Ronit Roy) is hot on their heels, always one step ahead in thwarting their dreams. Fortunately, a jhola-party Diana Penty, connected with some NGO, is willing to help them in reformation. Wanting to rise above the life of wood cutting and stone crushing, Farhan’s rag-a-tag band struggles with drums and guitars but almost give up in desperation till they finally decide to stick together to fulfil Farhan’s long-cherished dream of a music band and their long walk to freedom.
Farhan Akhtar is the central character but is gracious enough to share the screen space with equally talented co-actors.
He delivers an honest performance devoid of any histrionics or melodrama to our joy. Physically, he is in top form, reminding us of his BHAG MILKHA BHAG film. Songs are his forte` and he obviously excels undoubtedly.
Co- convicts, Deepak Dobriyal and Rajesh Sharma of TANU WEDS MANU fame, are too good. Their natural flair towards comedy is a big hit. Deepak, especially is yet to receive his due. Gippy Grewal as Pali is convincing enough while Ronit Roy as a lean and mean jailor is a class apart….as an actor. He never disappoints….cheers. Even Bhojpuri actor, Ravi Kissan, is thoroughly enjoyable. His bhaiyya-banter with IG is truly hilarious.
That leaves us with model turned actress, Diana Penty of COCKTAIL. In all sincerity, she almost begs for a serious-actress tag. But someone please tell her that rolling eyes and fluttering mascara-laden eyelashes is not sufficient. Better luck next time!!
Soulful song ’Raangdaari’ is song-of-the-week on my i-pod. This beautiful sufi rendition is a must-hear.
All in all, newbie director, Rajesh Tiwari, impresses us in his debut film that solely depends on the power packed performances by one and all.
Weekend starting on a positive note, high on hope and joy is what doctor has prescribed for you. Definitely, a one-time watch. ????