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The creation of Prabhat Pandit (Sood) as a policeman with solid,honest roots but who has been co-opted by the corrupt system,is a minor win.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi |
June 29, 2012 6:47:40 pm

Cast: Sonu Sood,Naseerudin Shah,Vinay Pathak,Neha Dhupia,Mohan Agashe,Amit Sadh

Director: Kabeer Kaushik

Indian Express Ratings:**

Mumbai. Inter-cop rivalry. Encounter specialists. Mob bosses. Complicit policemen. This combination has occurred in movies too numerous to name. What brought me to ‘Maximum’ with some anticipation was the memory of the director’s debut ‘Sehar’,which took all of the above ingredients,minus Mumbai,and turned them into a memorable film,well-acted,well-etched,visceral,with songs that added to the flavour.

But ‘Maximum’ turns out to be a dampener. Not because it doesn’t have interesting actors. Nor because it doesn’t have interesting situations. But because it comes off merely as ‘Sehar’ redux,minus its power. The creation of Prabhat Pandit (Sood) as a policeman with solid,honest roots but who has been co-opted by the corrupt system,is a minor win. The film goes back to a time when the builder lobby ,backed by the Mafia,ruled Mumbai,and Bollywood. So Prabhat is shown being alternately chummy or threatening,depending upon whether the builder is being good to him,or not. He’s also hugger mugger with Bollywood heroines,while keeping wife (Dhupia) and daughter happy . The only one who seems to be able to stop him is rival cop Inamdar (Naseer),whose reputation of a belt-notcher is formidable : he shoots,and adds another to his growing list.

This antipathy is at the heart of ‘Maximum’,and everything else flows from this : the neta (Pathak) whose deep fondness for Pandit keeps getting underlined everytime we see them together,the checks and balances of ‘raajneeti’’ played out between politician (Agashe) and senior cops,and the patently good guys in the shape of Pandit’s professor father (Gupta),and the TV journalist (Sadh) . The trouble is,except for a shocker towards the end (though not so much if you’ve been paying attention),there isn’t anything in here we haven’t seen before. Generally. As well as specifically : despite the difference in plot points,this is almost like ‘Sehar’ transplanted in Mumbai.

The nice acts come from people we don’t see so often. Sadh underplays well. Swanand Kirkire (yes,the lyricist) has an unexpected turn as a cop,and can think of an alternate career in acting. Naseer has a stand-out moment where he proves he can still walk away with the scenery when he wants to ( in the rest,he goes through the motions) And Sonu Sood leaves an impact even when he is not doing too much,the characterisitic of a good actor. I’m looking forward to a film which gives him the chance to really flex his acting muscles.

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