Buddha In A Traffic Jam Movie Review: A Thought-Provoking Tale
Vivek Agnihotri, who made his directorial debut with Chocolate, a film loosely inspired by The Usual Suspects, has mostly made commercial entertainers, but this time, the director has taken a cinematic detour to come up with Buddha In A Traffic Jam, a thought-provoking film about concepts like idealism, socialism, Naxalism, corruption and other issues.
Vikram Pandit (Arunoday Singh), a management student, becomes a social media hero overnight after launching a 'Pink Bra’ campaign to protest against moral policing when his female friend is harassed by certain radicals at a pub. When his professor Ranjan Bhatki (Anupam Kher) invites him to use his social media skills to raise awareness about the plight of the downtrodden, Vikram embarks on a journey that ultimately opens his eyes to what is actually happening within the country.
On his journey, Vikram is helped by Sheetal (Pallavi Joshi), the wife of Ranjan Bhatki and Charu Siddhu (Mahie Gill), a friend of the Bhatki couple. How this campaign changes his life, forms the rest of the plot.
Arunoday Singh is surprisingly good as the idealistic but happy-go-lucky management student Vikram Pandit while Pallavi Joshi, who was seen on screen after a long time, is quite impressive in her role. Kher is a natural while Mahie Gill has a short role.
The first thing about the film that hits you is that though it deals with issues like Naxalism, socialism, capitalism and corruption, which most youngsters may not really relate to, Vivek makes it quite relevant and significant through his characters. The characters in the film are quite real and the conversations that take place between them, are quite relatable because Vivek makes his characters speak the language of the youth. Notwithstanding the liberal use of expletives, the film is quite easy to follow despite the heavy subjects it tackles. The film also strives to raise questions about the various 'isms’ that we tend to believe are good for the nation.
Another aspect the film explores is this whole concept of 'anti-nationalism’ and 'radical dissent’ that is being the talk of the town since the past few months, especially with the Kanhaiya Kumar debate.
However, having said that, though the film is quite hard-hitting and thought-provoking, it might not strike a chord with the masses looking for commercial entertainment. There are no item songs, no larger-than-life action scenes or seeti maar dialogues. Moreover, the film could have surely done with some crisp editing as the second half tends to stretch.
However, if you are done with formula films, Buddha In A Traffic Jam will surely prove to be a welcome change.