When I launched the ticket booking app this Friday morning, I found almost all 3D and 3D Max shows of Captain America housefull till Sunday night. And nearly all shows of a little known film called Traffic were empty. I bought the tickets of the latter for the late night show.
As I was ushered in the pretty much vacant theater in Noida, a man and seemingly his wife walked in alongside.
“Poora hall khali hai, lagta hai bakwas picture hogi” (The entire hall is empty, looks like it’s going to be a bad film), the man mumbled.
We settled down for what was to come.
Traffic should have been named ‘An Indian Life.’ It’s a story of how the Bombay traffic police successfully transports a heart from Mumbai to Pune in a precious few hours; how they control the traffic and manage the crowd, squeezing myraid elements of an Indian life within those 150 minutes of the film. The film is a commentary on human emotions – of failing but refusing to give up, of losing but having the heart to let go. It’s about bravery, about failure, about love, about life.
I have always been huge fan of Malayalam films and this remake of a Malayalam film is another example of how advanced, emotionally vulnerable and deep stories they produce. Traffic is like a thriller mind-game. It packs solid performances from Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Prosenjit Chatterjee (Bengali film superstar), Parambrata Chatterjee (another Bengali actor from Kahani), Sachin Khedekar, Divya Dutta, Kitu Gidwani and others. Piyush Mishra’s dialogues are an icing on the cake.
Manoj Bajpayee’s performance exudes helplessness of a typical middle class man. But he is someone determined to fight it out and survive. His humble roots and background add to the genuineness of a character, who is accused of corruption. His own daughter comes to hate him for it.
When the film ended, I asked the man who entered with me, “How was the film?”
“Delhi walo ko to bas America ke hero hi ache lagte hain. Asli hero to Manoj Bajpayee nikla.”(Delhiites worship Hollywood. Our Manoj Bajpayee turned out the real hero).
Clearly his eyes were moist, and he was avoiding direct eye-contact. But he left me smiling.
After you’ve celebrated American heros and their massive productions, do watch this humble offering from late Rajesh Pillai. A brilliant director who could have done so much for Indian cinema.
By Mohul Ghosh
Mohul is Senior Editor with Trak.in & Social Media Manager at APN News Channel. When he’s not writing, you’ll most likely find him at a movie theatre. You can also find him at fb.com/mohulghosh