TRAFFIC (2016)

When the promos of this film aired, I was intrigued. However upon its release the film met with considerable rebuke from the critics and the viewers alike. There was just one show of the film in my city and that too was a late night one and so I was finding it increasingly difficult to find time to watch it. I finally did and I have to say that my reactions are bitter sweet. This is one of those classic cases where the Bollywood penchant for adding unnecessary melodrama to a tale that should have been presented simply and without as little fuss as possible.

The story revolves around a kid who has a fatal heart condition. On a fateful day she collapses and has only till evening for a new heart to be put in her. Luck for her, that very a day a very sweet and down to earth youngster meets with a fatal accident and is brain dead. His heart however is in perfect condition and can be put in the girl. But there is a catch. Taking into consideration the time taken to convince the boy’s parents to make them donate his heart, there is just 2 hours to transport the heart form Pune to Mumbai. Now that is a feet which every Mubaikar knows is far-fetched.

ImastiSansarqThere are no flights thanks to incessant rain and terrible weather. At this juncture the traffic department steps in. Propelled by a constable who wants to clear his name and make his daughter proud of him, the department takes up the nearly impossible task. On board the car with the heart is a friend of the deceased and a doctor who is not in the best of mental states and may just be a threat to the whole mission. What happens next? Will the heart reach the girl on time? Will the doctor sabotage the mission and will the constable be able to clear his name and accomplish the mission? These are some of the questions that drives the narrative of the film.

The film has an engrossing second half. It has to be agreed that towards the end of the film, your heart races with the ticking FotorCreated65clock. Few sequences like the ones where the car is taken off-course by the doctor, the ride through the extremely congested locality where the car propels with the other two clearing the way for it and also the sequence where the team takes a turn on guess which actually turns out to be a short cut are some of the best sequences in the film. All of these happen in the second half. The first half is marred by some inane melodrama and some radicle change of hearts which largely remain unexplained. A film like this banks heavily on realism and that’s something the screenplay loses every now and then in the first half. It also doesn’t help that most of the cast members feel like just sleep walking through their parts.

Manoj Bajpai is a class act. No matter how small a role he has in this film, he holds on to your attention. The guy is so immensely likeable that he makes a mark even when he is doing nothing more than turning the wheels. Jimmy Shergill fluctuates between good and melodramatic and plain bad dangerously while initially he starts off strong, as the film progresses his performance is marred by some lackluster writing in terms of dialog and also his own overacting. Prosenjit is a miscast as a super star. He neither looks nor acts the part. Parambrata as the problematic doctor is passable. The rest of the cast are not worth mention including Sachin Khedekar and am pained to write this.

Traffic is a remake of a Malayalam thriller and I am told that it is mighty good. However, this version is very much a mixed bag. The first half is criminally bad and the good things about the second half partially negate the loopholes and pains left over by the first half. Still the film ends up way short of the mark considering the sparkling material it had in hands to work with. It could have easily been one of the best films of the year if well-made but that’s not the case. Yes! It is a tolerable one time watch and that too if you have nothing else to do.

Rating : 2.5/5 (2. 5 out of 5 Stars)

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