Saturday, March 21, 2015

NH 10 

The Monster At The Door

A rural cop tells an urban woman in distress, that where the malls of Gurgaon end, the Constitution ends. If water and electricity haven’t reached, he explains, what to say about the Constitution.

Navdeep Singh’s NH 10 (inspired by Eden Lake) shows what everyone believes about North India—it is lawless, patriarchal, cruel and corrupt.  Urban and sophisticated Delhi has to deal with this monster on its doorstep, on a daily basis. That’s why nobody would be foolhardy enough to get out of their cars when they see a crime being committed. People get shot for less; as a stoic toll booth attendant in the film says of his colleague—he asked some men for toll, they shot him.

It is in this crazy jungle that upper class working professionals, Meera (Anushka Sharma) and Arjun (Neil Bhoopalam), get trapped. When she is attacked by goons while driving alone at night, the cop they complain to has a typical ‘it happens’ attitude.  He advises them to get a gun.

To recover from this trauma, they set out for weekend outing, and witness a horrific crime. Arjun’s misplaced machismo ends up with them on the run, with the murderous goons, led by Satbir (Darshan Kumaar) chasing them. Their phones are locked in the car, the keys stolen, and no trace of civilisation in sight.

After some tense running and hiding, Arjun is wounded and Meera has to run about trying to dodge the goons and find help. She has to use all the energy and mental reserves at her disposal, and the film just never lets the audience breathe a sigh of relief. Every time it looks like Meera is out of danger, a larger threat looms.

It is fast-paced, tense and gripping, with a superb performance by Anushka Sharma. In the old days, when on a rare occasion, a filmmaker wanted to do a ‘woman-oriented’ film, they’d do films with titles like Insaaf Ki Awaaz, about revenge-seeking women. This is a better, more realistic melodrama-less version of those films.

But what’s the take-away from NH 10?  Don’t get involved in other people’s problems; Indian society is beyond repair; women are women’s worst enemies;  when push comes to shove all of us can channel our inner beast; there, but for the grace of God, go any of us.  All of them disturbing.

NH10 is a watchable-- though not enjoyable—film. It brings the director of the excellent (though plagiarised) Manorama Six Feet Under back into the reckoning, and hopefully this time the estrangement won’t be for so long.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker