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India Lockdown Review: Madhur Bhandarkar Brings Back Horrors of Pandemic, But a Bit Late in the Day

By: Gautaman Bhaskaran

Edited By: Bohni Bandyopadhyay

News18.com

Last Updated: December 02, 2022, 09:34 IST

Mumbai, India

Madhur Bhandarkar's India Lockdown brings back the pains and pathos of the pandemic.
Madhur Bhandarkar's India Lockdown brings back the pains and pathos of the pandemic.

India Lockdown U/A

2/5
  • 2 December 2022 | Hindi
  • 2 hrs 33 mins | Drama
  • Starring: Prateik Babbar, Sai Tamhankar, Shweta Basu Prasad, Aahana Kumra, Prakash Belawadi, Satvik Bhatia, Zarin Shihab
  • Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

Madhur Bhandarkar's India Lockdown is an anthology of four stories starring Pratiek Babbar, Sai Tamhankar, Shweta Basu Prasad, Aahana Kumra, among others.

Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest outing on ZEE5, India Lockdown, comes a little too late in the day. For, it deals with the painfully long lockdown India faced during the Covid pandemic a while ago. Much of what the film talks about is known, and would have little novelty. It is an anthology of four stories – all linked together by how people in different segments of society suffered during those days from fear of the deadly disease (when the medical fraternity had little clue of what the virus was all about). For some, there was also the uncertainty of where the next meal would come from.

Prateik Babbar’s Madhav is a daily wage earner, his wife, Phoolmati (Sai Tamhankar), works as domestic help, and when the lockdown is clamped down with hardly any notice, they get stuck in a web of helplessness. Without income and food, Madhav and his wife as well as two little children are desperate. When they decide to trek back to their home in Bihar from Mumbai, the journey turns out to be torturous. Starvation and extreme fatigue push them to do the unthinkable.

Barring one, the stories are also stale. Phoolmati’s employer, Nageshwar Rao (Prakash Belawadi, who refuses to give us a new avatar), is unable to retain her, because his housing society has banned servants. And he takes to his wheel to drive down to Hyderabad to be with his pregnant daughter. The road journey throws up its own challenges, including a disastrous confrontation with Madav, who is trudging along the highway with his family.

In Mumbai, we have other kinds of daily wage earners; Mehru (played wonderfully by Shweta Basu Prasad) is a sex worker, and the Covid lockdown has dried up her income. But one to never say die, she begins phone sex, with scenes that are rather repulsive and poorly handled. The writing by Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah are patchy in places, and this is one. A bit of drama infuses a bit of spark here, when Mehru’s savings are stolen, and her anguish has been crafted with a fair degree of restrain.

Finally, we have air hostess Moon Alves (Aahana Kumra), who is so lonely and misses her high flying assignments that she dresses up in her uniform at home and gets set to find company. Her young neighbour, Dev (Satvik Bhatia), is also alone and pining for his girlfriend, who just cannot get past the lockdown and the curfew imposed by her father. Both Moon and Dev find comfort in each other’s arms in a segment which I found largely original and appealing.

Bhandarkar, who gave us an excellent Chandni Bar and others like Page 3, Jail, Fashion and Traffic Signal, has not really been able to match his earlier work here.

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first published:December 02, 2022, 09:13 IST
last updated:December 02, 2022, 09:34 IST
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