Amit Kumar’s directorial venture Monsoon Shootout is a film that was made years back and was screened at film festivals, but is releasing now in India due to various circumstances and the fact that it stars stalwarts like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Neeraj Kabi, is enough to make anyone eager to watch the film. However, does Monsoon Shootout work as a film?
Set in Mumbai, the film revolves around Adi (Vijay Varma), a rookie cop on his field trials with a senior cop Khan (Neeraj Kabi). Adi is quite idealistic while Khan believes in the ends justifying the means, which causes some friction between the two. Meanwhile, violent criminal Shiva (Nawaz) is terrorizing the builders of Mumbai on behalf of slumlord Dagar Bhai (R. Balasubramaniam) and it is up to Khan and Adi to apprehend Shiva.
However, when Adi chases Shiva after spotting him and holds him at gunpoint, he starts thinking about the consequences of his decision to shoot or not to shoot and the film explores the effects of his three choices- the right way, the wrong way and the middle path’.
I had seen Varma for the first time in Priyadarshan’s Rangrezz years back and I remember being floored by the young man’s performance and intensity. This time, Varma has played a very restrained character, but has done a masterful job and one can feel the frustration of an idealistic man in a world without principles through his performance. If you are going to watch this film for Nawaz, be warned that he has a short role and is quite bland in a few scenes. Neeraj Kabi is easily one of the most talented actors we have, but somehow he couldn’t convince me as a cop (I still believe Ashok Samarth’s ‘Malvankar’ from Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local was the best portrayal of a cynical cop I have ever seen). Tannishta Chatterjee, another fine actress, hardly gets to do much in the movie.
As for the film itself, let it be said that it is for a niche audience and that people expecting a thrilling cops-and-robbers fare will be well advised to reconsider. While the trailer and the poster of the film seems to suggest a noir thriller, ‘Monsoon Shootout’ is actually a philosophical film about the dynamics of decisions. Like mentioned earlier, the film explores the three possible decisions that Adi could have taken and how the story would have progressed as per every decision and it is interesting to watch what is known as the ‘butterfly effect’ of one decision, which can change lives beyond a person’s control.
The film has been shot quite well and the cinematographer Rajeev Ravi has managed to bring out the gritty side of the city. Many filmmakers in the past have successfully captured the seamy and seedy side of the city (Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya and the recent film ‘Ajji’ comes to mind) and we can add Amit Kumar’s name to this list without any hesitation.
In conclusion, Monsoon Shootout is not a ‘run of the mill’ fare, so watch it only to discover something new and not for thrills...