Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Cast: Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh, Mahie Gill, Pallavi Joshi
The trailer of ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’ had resonated with me, prompting me to find my own voice, however silent, against corruption. It was expected that the film would be a message on social awakening, but it turned out to be much more than that. Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’ is an extraordinary effort to begin a revolution on the buried political issues of the country. Agnihotri, director of the eminently forgettable ‘Chocolate’, ‘Goal’ and ‘Hate Story’, had not prepared us for this.
Ranjan Batik (Anupam Kher) is a senior professor in a reputed business school in Hyderabad. Vikram Pandit (Arunoday Singh) is his student, who is pursuing a degree in business administration. He is a social media butterfly and believes that revolution can happen through Facebook. He is the type to run a ‘Pink Bra campaign’ to protest police atrocity on youth.
Ranjan’s wife Sheetal Batik (Pallavi Joshi) runs an NGO called The Potters Club along with her friend Charu Siddhu (Mahie Gill). It is all hunky-dory with the government in the beginning with funds flowing in, but then the money suddenly dries up. To help out, Ranjan seeks marketing help from his students and Vikram comes up with a brilliant plan. Vikram proposes, but Ranjan disposes. Vikram decides to confront his teacher but stumbles upon a dirty secret. What is the real functionality of this NGO? Why did Ranjan reject Vikram’s business proposal? This you have to find out in the theatres.
Vivek Agnihotri brings us an untouched issue of the hidden war going on in the country -- between naxals and the tribals, a race for supremacy over the other in dark areas hardly touched by civilisation. Vivek Agnihotri and Rohit Malhotra’s screenplay is the film’s strength. It pans out in ten chapters, each as taut as the other in this socio-political thriller. When the mystery unravels, you realize the system is rotten to the core.
Vivek Agnihotri has used a soulful nazm of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, ‘Chand Roz’ while the plot speedily moves towards the climax. Acting pioneers Anupam Kher and Pallavi Joshi are exceptional as the loving couple, gently balancing their clashing ideologies within the framework of conjugality. Mahie Gill too is a solid vessel for all the shades in her character – white, black and definitely gray. Arunoday Singh continues to revel in youth-oriented roles that often end up as angry young men. Shakeel Khan is the perfect comic foil to Singh when things tense up.
‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam’ is mostly in English which might be a problem for the producer. But it is certainly a one-time watch....