After numerous delays, the Hindi remake of director Rajesh Pillai’s much acclaimed Malayalam thriller ‘Traffic’ finally sees the light of day. Pillai passed away earlier this year but the producers made sure that his last film reaches out to the audience. The narrative of the film revolves around a particular incident that affects several lives and how a traffic constable goes about delivering a heart to a patient in another city in a stipulated time frame.
Rehan, a young journalist, is on his way to interview film star Dev Kapoor (Prosentjit Chatterjee) when he meets with an accident. The accident leaves him badly injured and the doctors realize that he would not live for long. Dev Kapoor’s daughter, suffering from a heart ailment, is in a Pune based hospital battling with life. The doctors suggest that as Rehan does not stand a chance at recovery, his heart could be used to save Kapoor’s daughter. Dev’s parents, after showing some hesitance initially, agree to the proposal. The traffic commissioner (Jimmy Shergill) gives the responsibility of taking Rehan’s heart from Mumbai to Pune to Godbole (Manoj Bajpayee), a traffic constable. Godbole is accompanied by Rehan’s friend Rajeev (Amol Parashar) and Abel Fernandez (Parambrata Chatterjee), a cardiac surgeon.
It would take some vivid brainstorming on the writer’s part to weave a screenplay about how a man braves the traffic and saves a person’s life. The hurdles that he faces on his way must be interesting enough to keep the viewer engrossed. While the first half of the film has a brisk pace and manages to instill a sense of urgency in your mind, the tension gradually dips as the film moves towards its culmination. The revelation involving Abel is interesting but the way they curb the traffic in the ‘communally sensitive area’ (as we are told) does not seem very convincing. As a result, the last 15-20 minutes of the film do not leave with a sense of exhilaration as it should have.
Barring those penultimate minutes of the film, the film manages to keep you engrossed with some well etched out characters and some interesting twists in the narrative. The film, in a subtle manner, manages to put across its message of giving people a second chance pretty well too.
Manoj Bajpayee conveys the goodness of a constable devoted towards his job and the anguish of a man suffering because of a mistake equally well. Jimmy Shergill’s character does not have much of a graph but he delivers a respectable performance. Parambrata Chatterjee gets a fairly demanding character to play and he does complete justice to it. Well known faces like Divya Dutta, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Sachin Khedekar and Kitu Gidwani do not have much of screen time but they, collectively, serve as a solid backbone to the film. Amol Parshar leaves a mark as Rajeev.
Rajesh Pillai’s direction is good in the first half but he could have handled certain portions in the second half more skillfully. He balances the thriller element and the emotional scenes very well. The story (Bobby – Sanjay) is good but the screenplay (Suresh Nair) should have been more gripping. The dialogues (Piyush Mishra and Prashant Pandey) are very good. One has some issues with the editing (Nishant Radhakrishnan and Mahesh Narayanan) as in some places (particularly in the first half), one feels a jerk as one frame transits to another. Certain scenes seem to be longer than they should be. The camerawork (Santosh Thundiyil, additional: Anil Lal) is terrific. The songs (Mithoon and Shailendra Barve) are melodious and have been used very well. The background score (Shailendra Barve) is suitably minimal.
‘Traffic’ rests on a very interesting plot but the latter part of the second half fails to hold the tension and elevate it to greater heights in the climax. Even then, the film, with a novel central idea and several wonderfully executed sequences, makes for a gripping thriller.