Director Manish Gupta serves a story of forgery with sufficient twists and turns to keep you invested; with few flaws in the screenplay
Accept it or not, stories concerning fraud and forgeries are engaging to watch. 420 IPC is also one such story wherein you are invested in the drama for the major portion of it. The good part remains that the makers have ensured decent twists and turns in the story, although in the latter half, so that you are not disappointed by the drama. There are some flaws though in terms of connect and convincing ability of the plot.
Watch the trailer here:
Bansi Keswani (Vinay Pathak), a Chartered Accountant by profession is arrested on charges of theft and forgery. He hires a smart lawyer Birbal (Rohan Mehra), who realises that there is more than what meets the eye.
The story, screenplay, and dialogues are all penned by Manish Gupta himself. It’s an interesting affair to think of. Stories of such nature have to be laced with thrill, second or alternate layers, parallel narratives, a few twists and turns along the way and some back and forth action. This film by the way has it all. In the initial sequences of the film, you are told about an incident that Bansi Keswani is embroiled in. A few moments later, that is all gone. And you wonder why that was put in the first place. But you soon move on, just like the protagonist of the film. But that incident appears again, to make things more edgy as the film progresses towards its third act.
The good part about the writing is that the audience becomes the defence lawyer and moves with the man’s journey as the lawyer does. The writing ensures that things become clear to you and the lawyer at the same time, giving you a chance to feel the story in a more relatable manner. The initial portions of the courtroom drama are made to incline in one direction and you also feel motivated to think in the same direction. Things however get complex and meaty when more layers are uncovered and more truths come out in open. It’s interesting how these details have been shown to be integral to the drama.
Most of the part of the film deals with courtroom drama and the makers have tried their best to keep the presentation there close to real. The arguments of both the prosecution and defence are engaging to listen to, all the way more impactful aided with a strong score along the course. At about 55mins in the film, the film shows you a twist. And you think that’s about it. But this a point from where about 40mins of runtime remains and these 40mins raise your curiosity and excitement really high. You keep getting many turns here and even till the last scene, you aren’t able to decide on who is the real culprit.
The weak point however remains that at about half time, the things get loose so much so that you feel it could be the end of the film or that the film could never rise again. You feel a little bored with how you are made to believe certain things that otherwise could be shown differently. It is also here that elements in the film seem repetitive but for one fact you know that there is still left for the film, you expect action and Gupta rightly gives you strong action.
Rohan Mehra delivers a seasoned performance. He remains within the boundaries of his character keeping a strict body language suiting the role. It is his second appearance and he must get more ventures now.
Vinay Pathak is a legendary actor and it’s a proven fact. Here also, he puts his best foot forward keeping a straight face all throughout, more so justifying his role to perfection. You like watching him and more so in the second half, you want him to appear on screen more often.
Ranvir Shorey commands your respect. He wins you right in his introductory scene where he simply walks to the courtroom. His body language says it all. You know for sure at that very instant that he will charm you to no limits.
Gul Panag also has a well written role and she has her moments. It may seem initially that she has been cast just for the sake of it. But when the movie develops, her role develops. She has performed with ease.
The background score by Ranjit Barot and Som Dasgupta is simply mind blowing. You get an adrenaline rush when certain pieces play for you. The mood of the sequences is rightly set by how the score makes you feel a certain way.
Cinematography by Arvind Kannabiran and Raaj Chakravarti is simple and effective. There is no extravagant use of stylised lighting and the film has been kept to have a uniform tone. Works for the film, because it makes you feel neutral without making you take sides. Production design by Bhavani Patel also works well for the narrative and justifies the cinematography well. The court looks real just like the streets of Mumbai.
Editing by Archit Rastogi is decent. It is strong during the last 40-45mins of the film when the actual thrilling feel takes over. It is also fun to watch how the story uses many flashbacks during this phase to give you more perspectives.
A good watch. Just like Special 26, Johnny Gaddar, Bunty aur Babli or Bluffmaster, this one too marks its name with flair in the list of good enough films on fraud and economic crimes.