Qaidi Band movie review: This Aadar Jain and Anya Singh starrer is preachy

Qaidi Band movie review: More realism would have made this a film we could have believed in. But we do take away the young faces with us, especially Anya Singh whose bright-eyed earnestness is wholly convincing. She is a real find.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Published:August 25, 2017 4:09 pm
qaidi band, qaidi band movie, Aadar Jain, Anya Singh, Sachin Pigaonkar, Prince Parvinder Singh, Qaidi Band movie review: The actors all do their job, but the film is so careful to be prison lite that nothing seems real

Qaidi Band star cast: Aadar Jain, Anya Singh, Sachin Pigaonkar, Prince Parvinder Singh, Peter Muxxa Manuel, Mikahi Yawalkar, Anna Ador, Cyndy Khojol, Ram Kapoor
Qaidi Band director: Habib Faisal
Qaidi Band rating: One and a half stars

That undertrials in Indian jails can live in limbo, swinging between hope and despair for a long, long time is a good, solid subject for a film. And when the film begins, with the mention of Machang Lalung who spent 54 years—most of a man’s life– in prison, you hope for something that will do justice for people in search for just that—justice.

A bunch of young and young-ish undertrials come together to form a band, and what begins as something that starts under duress, turns into a song for their ‘azaadi’. Sanju (Jain), Bindu (Anya), Tatyana (Ador, seen before this in Gurgaon), Musky (Parvinder), Ogu (Manuel), Rufi (Yawalkar) and Sange (Khojol) is the rag-tag gang, and the inclusion of a Black man, and a girl from the North East allows the film to make important points about racism and discrimination, even in a place where the entire populace is discriminated against.

The actors all do their job, but the film is so careful to be prison lite that nothing seems real: even the dust of the prison grounds is air-brushed. Anything which could have revealed the horrific degree of physical abuse is cut short: the place is run by a jailer (Sachin : good to see him back in Hindi cinema) who kow-tows to authority.

The plot’s insistence on taking pot-shots at the usual suspects (politicians and the police and the ‘system’) makes it preachy. And the way the rock-band arena is used to solve a climactic problem is far from credible.

More realism would have made this a film we could have believed in. But we do take away the young faces with us, especially Anya Singh whose bright-eyed earnestness is wholly convincing. She is a real find.

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