Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Parambrata Chatterjee, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Amol Parashar, Divya Dutta, Sachin Khedekar, Kitu Gidwani, Divya Dutta, Divya Unni
Director: Rajesh Pillai
All those who think that roping in some of the most reliable names in the showbiz industry, giving them an unusual script, and hoping that their combined potential will pull them through, simply because such amazing actors can never fail even if they're almost forced into inadequate shots, need to watch ‘Traffic’.
Directed by the late Rajesh Pillai - who had also worked on the original Malayalam project ‘Traffic’- the film is a prime example of how mind-blowing ensemble casts can't make a great movie if it lacks the quality and rest of the key ingredients.
Inspired by a real-life incident (2008) in Tamil Nadu which also made headlines in the media, it revolves around the story of a 12-year-old girl Riya - the only child of superstar Dev Kapoor (Prosenjit Chatterjee) and his wife Maya (Divya Dutta) - who is battling for her life in Pune.
On the other hard, a budding journalist Rehaan Ali (Vishal Singh) who was involved in a horrific car accident and sustained severe injuries, is on a ventilator in a Mumbai hospital. Aware of the fact that his chances of survival are slim, his parents (Kitu Gidwani and Sachin Khedekar) decide to donate their son’s heart to help Riya. Their decision to take their only son off the ventilator is as tough as transporting the organ. But because poor visibility yields a great restriction for aircraft operations, the organ has to be transported 160km by road in just 150 minutes.
Even though the mission looks impossible, constable Ramdas Godbole (Manoj Bajpayee) takes up the challenge without much urging and follows the instructions of Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Gurbir Singh (Jimmy Sheirgill). Just when achieving the target looks easy, Godbole’s car disappears.
The one aspect of the film that sustains viewers’ interest is the honesty with which relationships are handled. And with each relationship comes lessons of wisdom. From breaking social hurdles to love a woman, a traffic constable suspended from service for accepting a bribe taking up a mission in an attempt to seek redemption, a doctor facing betrayal to a woman forgetting her grief to help someone else - every circumstance offers interesting life hacks.
But 'Traffic' suffers because of Suresh Nair’s hurried screenplay. Since everything needs to happen at an alarmingly fast pace, the director fails to add depth in its characters - making it tough for it to come across as a believable film.
Recurring time-stamps make ‘Traffic’ feel like a thrilling race, which definitely commands your attention, but gives little insight into how characters are feeling.
Even though Manoj Bajpayee doesn’t get a huge screen time, he leaves an impact as a Mumbai traffic police constable. While his zeal to complete the mission needs to be lauded, his performance in the film isn’t as incredible as his film ‘Aligarh’.
Jimmy, as expected, does complete justice to his role. His pragmatic approach, his zeal and ability to turn an impossible mission to a terrific victorious task calls for applause.
It is shocking that Prosenjit Chatterjee as the arrogant megastar finds it extremely difficult to emote. His acting looks so forced that one can't care less about the character. Thankfully, Divya, who plays his wife manages to bring some authenticity to the situation they are caught in.
Sachin Khedekar and Kitu Gidwani’s performances as parents of road accident victim and brain-dead son make their part believable.