The Forest Movie Review: Jungle Thrills!
A film that was supposed to be released a few years back, The Forest by Ashvin Kumar, an acclaimed independent filmmaker, is a pure thrill ride for viewers who grew up reading stories onlegendary hunter Jim Corbett and his jungle exploits. The special effects, the cinematography, the photography and the sound effects of the film, described as an 'ecological thriller', are the types to keep one on the edge of their seats right from the first scene itself.
However, having said that, the film is treated in a fashion which makes a movie-goer confused about whether Kumar wants to make a documentary on wildlife protection or capture human drama during moments of extreme crisis. Pritam (Ankur Vikal) and Radha (Nandana Sen) from Delhi take a trip to the Kumaon jungles to resolve their issues, caused by Radha's inability to conceive following a messed up abortion while in college. At the jungle lodge, the couple meets up with Abhishek (Jaaved Jaaferi), Radha's former lover and a cop, who stays with his teenage son Arjun (Salim Ali Zaidi).
Abhishek, whose heart still seems to beat for Radha, suggests a hunting expedition at night despite strict orders against driving after sundown and what follows is a dangerous game with the two men locking horns over the woman they love while a man-eating leopard lurks nearby, attacking whatever prey is unfortunate enough to come within reach.
Like mentioned before, the film is thrilling enough to make one gasp and shiver deliciously at the game for survival that is played out in a span of one night. The special effects, though gory (like the close-up of a half-eaten child is sure enough to ruin an appetite for pop-corn), are very authentic and life-like. The leopard is as much a character as the cast members and the director even goes to the extent of explaining how man's encroachment upon jungles is causing problems of a bigger scale for both the wildlife and the encroaching humans. Performances by Sen, Jaaferi and Vikal are adequate and the tension between the trio is palpable and well-drawn out.
On the flip side, however is the fact that the movie seems a bit confused between a documentary and a commercial thriller. Moreover, the thrill factor threatens to overwhelm the ecologicalmessage underlying the film and the director does not seem interested in explaining the past of the three characters in detail (like the relationship between Abhishek and Radha), which obviously has an impact on their present situation. Also, some things (like the tribal woman and the significance of the thread that she hands over to Radha) are left unexplained.
But all said and done,The Forest is worth a watch for wildlife enthusiasts as well as fans of the thriller genre.