Rakesh Ranjan Kumar’s crime thriller has potential but shallow writing never lets it open eyes
In a twisted tale of crime, drugs, and everything wrong, Paharganj paints the city of Delhi with both- the tainted shades and hope at the same time. What you have in this investigative crime thriller are enough moments to keep you invested. Although its a brave attempt and a story worth noticing, it doesn’t find connect. Not one known face to give you faith in the plot and the cracked screenplay with lethargic pace become the weak links. Why should you watch this film? Coming to think of it, there’s actually no reasonable substance.
Set in Paharganj area of Delhi, the film tells 4 stories of crime involving drugs, politics, etc.
Hanuman Prasad Rai, Dheeraj Virmani and Kumar’s story is sincere. The basic premise is interesting and makes you inquisitive. Four individual stories eventually finding a connection, getting to exposing underbellies of Paharganj and its people is what the film is. Usage of drugs, some Bangali baba, molestation, and misuse of money power are good points to cherish.
But in the event of portraying them with thrill and excitement, the stories get mixed up and you aren’t able to remain with any one of them.
The screenplay asks you for too much, tests your patience at times, making you drift apart from the crux. There are many points where you feel the film needed a more sensible director. Even with just few minutes into the run time, you start waiting for the interval.
One thing that stands out is the symbolic and layered depiction of Delhi city, especially the area where the story is set. On one hand, its a stained picture of the city that comes forth. But when you think everything is bad, emerges hope and positivity. But even this isn’t conveyed because the otherwise narrative is too pale.
Amateur direction and plain production quality never really allows the film to even grow. In the second half, the film gets excruciatingly painful, so much so that every second you want to get up and leave the theater. In simple words, its a direction too bad.
Spanish actress Lorena Franco in a strong role, playing a distressed foreigner is very good. In no time, you start relating to her. The way she’s been portrayed on screen does the needful for the plot.
Bijesh Jayrajan is effective and does the required. Neet Chowdhry is very good. She makes the character contemporary.
The film undoubtedly needed popular faces who are brilliant in their craft. Its sad that the story which otherwise has potential misses the opportunity due to a reason which could be avoided.
Ajay Singha’s music isn’t great. The songs do give flow and strength to the story though. Background score is good, could be better. It is jarring at times.
Cinematography by Vinayak Radhakrishnan is average. With a lot of different palettes of colors and distinct lighting, he’s tried to create a symbolic mood but fails to do so. Production design is bland. The sets could have been so much more with locations especially.
Editing by Sandeep Francis is overall okay. You couldn’t have asked for better with such limited scope in writing.
Absence of known faces and mature direction never lets the film find its groove. The poor execution and tiresome approach ruins it all. Even a decent story seems rubbish owing to the terrible presentation. Why was this film even made? What prompted so many people to invest their energies in this one?