Monsoon Shootout movie cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Varma, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Monsoon Shootout movie director: Amit Kumar
Monsoon Shootout movie rating: 3 stars
Four years after it was shown at Cannes, Monsoon Shootout has finally hit the screens — with the advantage that many of its actors, in the meantime, have become known stars.
That works both to Monsoon Shootout’s advantage as well as disadvantage. Siddiqui, for example, as the slightly deranged hoodlum, seems to be just picking up from where he left off in many a previous film. Or specifically, Raman Raghav 2.0. Monsoon Shootout, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, inhabits the same universe of chaotic, unseen, underbelly Mumbai as that film, directed by Kashyap, did. Here too, the lines between police and criminals intersect and blur — changing both sides.
That said, writer-director Amit Kumar, who has patiently waited for his film’s release, deploys an interesting tool to tell a story about an idealistic cop, a hardened criminal, and the Mumbai monsoon. He tells it imagining three different scenarios, born of three different choices by the police officer, to underline how we reach those choices, and how the choices we make determine the consequences.
Given the tight length of the film — 90-plus minutes, at a trot — Kumar has to sacrifice some of the character development leading into that defining moment. The episodes that land Adi (Varma) in that alleyway, facing Shiva (Siddiqui) with a gun in his hand, are a series of cliches that could belong to any half-decent Bollywood film about corrupt politicians, compromised police, and canny small dons. And then there is Adi himself, with a dedicated mother, and a late father who was also in the police, who he salutes before leaving for his first day at work.
However, once we have realised what Amit Kumar is doing, as the storyline takes three different routes from that alleyway, the film hits a surer note. So that by the time he is into his third strand, we feel we know and sympathise with each of the people therein — including Adi’s boss Khan (Kabi), his friend Anu (Thapa), and Shiva’s wife (Tannishtha).
There is some solid acting here, and cinematographer Rajeev Ravi delivers faithfully Kumar’s attempt at capturing every aspect of the unglamorous Mumbai, from the trains and the fish market to the vada pav and the dance bars. Vijay Varma is solid as the moral center of the story and grows better as the film progresses.
If only Monsoon Shootout was as consistent throughout.