Art & Culture

Trapped reimagines the Bollywood thriller

Vinayak Chakravorty
Vinayak ChakravortyMar 17, 2017 | 21:28

Trapped reimagines the Bollywood thriller

On the 35th floor of an otherwise vacant highrise, a man has accidentally locked himself inside a rented flat he has moved into. The cellphone is dead, and electricity of the incomplete construction has tripped.

He has just moved in, so food ration comprises a pack of biscuits. The city far below is too noisy to hear his screams for help.

That’s the gist of Bollywood’s latest crossover delight Trapped — Vikramaditya Motwane’s quirky new thriller that takes the standard Cast Away formula and gives it a bizarre twist by setting the survival drama bang in the middle of a crowded city.

Trapped is an important film for Bollywood, irrespective of how much it makes at the box-office.

It reimagines the thriller in Hindi cinema by way of plot and execution (the makers have bravely done away with interval).

By creating suspense drama over an uninterrupted 103-minute runtime through the story of a man trapped alone inside an empty flat in the heart of Mumbai, the film takes Bollywood entertainment to the next level.

Motwane goes for the unconventional in the way he imagines his protagonist and antagonist, too.

Without giving away spoilers, the film could in parts seem unpalatable by Bollywood standards to the squeamish among the audience. Photo: YouTube

The filmmaker could not have struck a better deal than Rajkummar Rao as the hero. Importantly, the flat itself is the silent "villain" of the tale, you realise — one that threatens to destroy the hero’s mental and physical being by not letting him go.

There is a metaphysical subtext here pertaining to the hero. A minuscule prelude that runs up to the opening credits gives us a quick understanding of Rajkummar Rao’s protagonist Shaurya.

He is a shy, tongue-tied guy, nonetheless possessing an understated resilience that becomes obvious in the way he woos the pretty office colleague (Geetanjali Thapa).

Much later in the film, Shaurya’s final desperate bid to get out from the flat is almost like a metaphor denoting the shy guy’s intent at shedding his introverted ways.

Trapped is also unconventional in the way it engages without much of wordplay. The film is mostly silent, since Shaurya is locked inside the flat all alone — except when he cries himself hoarse trying to attract attention far below or blabbers to the in-house mouse.

Without giving away spoilers, the film could in parts seem unpalatable by Bollywood standards to the squeamish among the audience.

Yet, it delivers Shaurya’s hard survival saga with subtlety. The film ends on a pulsating note, as things literally go on the edge for the hero.

The climax underlines the simple fact that superheroic deeds are often acts of human desperation and not much else.

Trapped just set free the Bollywood thriller from sundry clichés that normally define the genre. Which makes it a special effort, really.

Last updated: March 17, 2017 | 21:28
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