WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Fight vs. flight. Our standards of success and self worth so often become dictated by the choices we make and the actions that accompany them. When those views are challenged, it tests our fortitude, our ability to rise up, and defines the person we are. For small town singer Kishan (Farhan Akhtar), this becomes a far too real circumstance when an attempt to pass along a simple CD of his music to one of his favorite performers ultimately goes sideways to a totally unforeseen level–he gets arrested and charged with a capital crime. Despite the complete lack of evidence against him, Kishan gets sentenced to imprisonment in the infamous Lucknow Central jail.
Once inside, and under the watch of a hard-nosed head Jailer (Ronit Roy), things are not looking up for Kishan until the ultimate arrival of NGO worker Gayatri (Diana Penty) who is part of a new initiative by CM Pawan Singh Chaturvedi (Ravi Kishan) to have a regional prison band competition. Seeing it more as a potential opportunity to escape, Kishan forms his band via fellow inmates of similar thinking Dikkat (Inaamulhaq), Victor (Deepak Dobriyal), Purushottam (Rajesh Sharma), and Parminder (Gippy Grewal). Even as the Jailer suspects things might not be what they seem with this group, Kishan and the rest plan their getaway, not even realizing that their bond formed with music, friendship, and each of their lives individually will have greater impact on events than anticipated.
Next, my Mind:
Delivering straightforward drama with touches of humor and the almost always present and affecting utilization of music and dance to bring an infusion of fun and emotional resonance to the proceedings, director/co-story writer Ranjit Tiwari’s newest feature effort shines on its well-written, uncomplicated, character-based execution while providing entertainment and relevant but not overbearing moral lessons that Bollywood films are so often adept at incorporating. Additionally buoyed by a truly top notch and well-chosen cast, the narrative about how one man’s life turned upside-down ends up so greatly influencing, shaping, and transforming the lives of everyone he encounters is inspiring, even as his own mindset about what he’s been seeking as personal triumph and prosperity gets completely shaken up and redefined. It is all carried off in believable fashion as well, most likely aided by the fact this is based on true happenings, and maybe that’s what helps further carry the weight of the messages found here. One of many musical highlights is the utterly hilarious and totally engaging song “Teen Kabootar” (“Three Pigeons”) as Kishan and his gang are put on the spot to perform by the ever suspicious Jailer.
Coming off several excellent performances in last year’s “Wazir” and “Rock On! 2“, Akhtar continues the streak in his role as Kishan, a small town man with big town dreams whose drive and determination to get there end up so unexpectedly taking him down a path to that realization in a decidedly different way than he’d pictured. Yet, it is in this trial by fire via his incarceration that turns Kishan into the man he becomes, willing to stand firmer against being put down or oppressed while hatching what starts as an escape plan and ends up so much more. The character’s journey is heartfelt and enacted with a fervent passion by Akhtar throughout. Roy once again brings his physically intimidating and acting prowess to the forefront as Lucknow Central’s head Jailer, a man of seemingly no real emotions beyond sheer intensity and hard-lined commitment to his duty which, granted, serves him well given the profession he’s in. His immediate distrust and, frankly, dislike of Kishan is made evident constantly, always keeping an eye on him, but also making every attempt to throw him off balance while attempting to ascertain intentions. This kind of character is Roy’s forte, and he yet again proves it with this performance.
The rest of this ensemble cast is no less noteworthy, with Penty’s no-nonsense, independent, hard-working NGO employee Gayatri striving to make prisons at least somewhat more palatable for inmates and their rehabilitation, Inaamulhaq’s rather off-kilter yet smarter-than-he-looks Dikkat, Dobriyal’s technical wiz and prison “PM”‘s second hand Victor, Grewal’s Parminder, the prison “PM”‘s enforcer and thorn in Kishan’s side until a change of heart and surprising skill revealed alter his path, and Sharma’s Purushottam, the other veteran presence and “ruler” at Lucknow Central whom Kishan’s initial encounter with doesn’t bode well. Additional turns are here from Ravi Kishan as the CM spearheading the prison band competition idea along with appearances from Samridhi Dewan, Uday Tikekar, Sukh Kunwar, Vineet Gill, and a special appearance from Manoj Tiwari. In total, “Lucknow Central” is certainly worth viewing for its amazing cast, catchy songs, and solid life lessons presented, all wrapped up in a neat package of entertainment.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!