Director: Rajesh Pillai
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Parambrata Chatterjee, Sachin Khedekar, Divya Dutta and Kitu Gidwani
Traffic is a story of redemption, of finding one’s own heart as several desperate men and women try to transport a physical heart from one hospital to another in India’s murderous traffic. To save a life.
Does that save the film? We think so.
The film is a remake of late director Rajesh Pillai’s 2011 Malayalam hit that merges elements from Mexican film Amores Perros and a 2009 real-life incident in Chennai when a special traffic corridor was created to transport a heart from one hospital to another. Pillai, who passed on a few weeks before the movie’s release, recreates the same, taut drama in Hindi for a wider national audience.
The cast boasts names that come with a body of outstanding performances. Manoj Bajpayee (a traffic constable), Jimmy Shergill (the police commissioner), Sachin Khedekar and Kitu Gidwani (parents of the brain-dead young man whose heart it is), Prosenjit and Divya Dutta (the star actor who will stop at nothing to get the heart for his dying daughter and his teary-eyed wife) and Parambrata Chatterjee (a doctor with murder on his mind).
All problems are surmounted in this heroic mission to save a dying girl in a Pune hospital as the heart beats its way from the brain-dead young man in Mumbai.
Police chief Jimmy Shergill rises to the occasion, ironing out all logistical traffic hurdles to take this mission ahead. After all, he would be the man in the hot seat if traffic went haywire. Shergill does a fine job of it.
Bajpayee’s police constable gets another grab at getting his respect back when he accepts the challenge of driving the heart. A challenge that his seniors had refused.
Bajpayee does a fine job too, delicately balancing the tension with his calm, even when the strength of his character is put to immense test when the mission goes haywire in the middle of a forest.
We must say the scene where the constable exits the city with the heart in the rear seat is just a mix of stock shots of city traffic and his car. Out of sync.
Sachin Khedekar as a father who goes through a personal loss, Kitu Gidwani, a mother who had to make a tough choice and Divya Dutta as the superstar’s wife is not maudlin, they all make their performances count.
Does this story of redemption have a happy ending? For that, you have to wait till the climax, which really is the film's high point. We are not giving that away....