Sunday, November 16, 2014

Real Asian Film Festival Review- Monsoon Shoutout

A rookie cop stands in the alley in a downpour his prey Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) pauses halfway over a fence about to escape. Gun raised Adi (Vijay Varma) has to decide to continue the chase, shoot to wound or use deadly force.  This is the key instant in Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shoutout.  The film explores this moment in time from several angles for the duration of the film.

Mumbai is under the grips of hit men extorting builders in the city.  It's the work of the Slumlord through his main hit man the Axe Murderer. The day before Adi's standoff a builder is ambushed in broad daylight. The road blocked in by an ox cart and a blind beggar.  Once the builder's vehicle is boxed in the rear doors open putting the builder face to face with the axe murderer who based on Crime Squad intel may or may not be the man Adi has in his crosshairs a night later.

In the first version, Adi continues the chase. Shiva gets away and turns out he is the axe murder. Shiva continues his violent rampage leading Adi to desk work removed from the Crime Squad by his boss Khan (Neeraj Kabi) who doesn't mind fracturing a few rules to get to the end result. His non action also leads to Shiva's violent act of revenge on a person close to Adi that jolts us back to the rain soaked alley for version two.

For round two Adi uses deadly force which has a devastating effect on Shiva wife Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) son Chhotu (Ferhan Mohammad Hanif Shaikh) and Adi himself. Adi is not sure if Shiva was the correct target.  When he goes to pay his respects at Shiva's viewing he is chased off by Rani and Chhotu.  He is wounded when he retreats leading him to a hospital where he is treated by a former flame Anu (Geetanjali Thapa).

Adi wounds Shiva in the third sequence forcing Shiva him to turn States witness leading to a cat and mouse game as they try to get him to court. Adi is greeted as a hero he re establishes his relationship with Anu but a mishap in the courthouse leads to dire consequences for a member of the Crime Squad. Adi seeks revenge on the perpetrators adopting Khan like methods to settle the score.

Vijay Varma is favourable in the role as the wide eyed moralistic rookie cop. He is willing to confront his immediate superior Khan always striving to do the right thing. Nawazuddin Siddiqui turns in another superior performance as Shiva. He is menacing and ruthless in one instant, tender and loving with his son Chhotu the next then volatile with his wife Rani the next moment. Siddiqui is particularly strong in the third sequence as he plays naive under questioning while in custody always working on a plan while appearing to turn States witness. Tannishtha Chatterjee is also memorable as Shiva's wife Rani. She builds to a blind range towards Adi and the police in the deadly force version shouting that her husband only works with clay only to be at the Slumlord's door the next moment demanding satisfaction for the work her husband did for his organization.  In story one she plays off her violent husband while hoping to keep her son Chhotu from following in his footsteps.

Monsoon Shootout is a cop film with a twist. It starts with a choice that effects a group of people on both sides of the law. Amit Kumar directs the action back to that moment several times in the film but the cast seems to get to several of the same places each time despite the change in the jumping off point.

**1/2 Out of 4.

Monsoon Shootout | Amit Kumar | India / U.K. | 2014.

Tags: Crime, Cops, Corruption, Rookie Officer, Monsoon Rain, Mumbai, Non Linear, Choices.

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