There have been several English films that showed the protagonist/s stuck in a difficult place with no resources and trying to get out of it. The trailer of Vikramaditya Motwane’s reminds of images from Danny Boyle’s ‘127 Hours’. Both the films are set in completely different milieus but ‘127 Hours’, just like ‘Trapped’, traced the struggles of the protagonist as he tried to escape from a place he was stuck in and the film had the beats of a thriller. Of course, with the kind of sensibilities Motwane’s first two films had, one expects the director to come up with something original and fresh.
Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), a young executive working for a travel agency, is in love with Noorie (Geetanjali Thapa), a colleague but is only able to muster enough courage to talk to her on phone. Noorie reciprocates Shaurya’s feelings but makes it clear to him that they will have to part ways in two months as her parents have already fixed her marriage which will be taking place after two months. Shaurya urges Noorie not to get married to the man her marriage has been fixed with and give their relationship a chance. He promises her that he will arrange for a new house here they can move in together. After meeting several brokers, Shaurya gets a spacious apartment in a vacant building. Shaurya moves in to the apartment immediately and looks forward to meeting Noorie’s family and talking to them about getting married to her. The next day, a turn of events lead towards Shaurya being locked inside his house. The phone’s battery is dead, there is not a single soul residing in the building and electricity and water runs out pretty soon.
Being locked up inside an apartment in a buzzing city is not a scenario you would imagine somebody to be in. But, director Vikramaditya Motwane and writers (Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta) pull off the narrative so convincingly, you buy into all that unfolds in front of your eyes. Even if the scenes seemed to have come across as far-fetched to someone reading out them on a paper, most of it makes sense when one sees them in the context of the film. Most of it. Yes, that is because there are some scenes/sequences where you feel the makers have taken too much of creative liberties. Even though nobody lives in the high-rising building the film is set in, it is surrounded, on all its corners, by shops, houses, buildings, roads etc. So, the fact that he hangs his clothes on the balcony and sets them (and some furniture) on fire at night and nobody takes notice is a little difficult to swallow. When a lady comes to the building after seeing a placard thrown by Shaurya on her building asking for help, she does not pay any heed to the watchman when he says that there is not a single soul residing in the building. She walks up the stairs and just when she is about to reach Shaurya’s apartment, retracts back. She comes down and throws away the blood stained placard carelessly. One wonders why she would change he mind at the last minute after walking all the way down to the building all alone.
The way Shaurya struggles to get out of the building is believable. You can empathize with his pain and his desperation which leads him towards drinking his urine to quench his thirst. A length of 105 minutes is fair for a film of this genre. Even then, the film seems a little log and you tend to lose interest at times because it the plot is mostly predictable. The film has an interesting premise that should have benefitted from more clever writing. A couple of minutes before Shaurya manages to escape, you feel exhausted and just want a resolution.
The film rests on Rajkummar Rao’s shoulders and he delivers a standout performance. The actor reportedly survived on a diet of black coffee and carrots to look the part. All the effort he had put in reflects in his performance. His performance is one of the factors that keep you hooked to the film even when things get a little drably. Geetanjali Thapa leaves a lasting impression as Noorie. The few scenes she gets to perform, towards the beginning and end of the film, are suffice to show her mettle as an actor. Yogendra Vikram Singh, as the broker who helps Shaurya find the apartment, is good.
‘Trapped’ is an engaging survival drama that has Rajkummar Rao’s performance as one of its aces. With the kind of idea Vikramaditya Motwane and his team of writers had, the film could have been far more interesting than it eventually turns out to be.