Sunday, February 11, 2007

Movie Review - Traffic Signal

Yes yes.. ofcourse i have to start with something trite... like those one line reviews of SUN TV...

TRAFFIC SIGNAL??... TAKE DIVERSION.


The premise of the movie was interesting... but everything else is half baked. Madhur Bhandarkar is a really shallow film maker who makes a pretence of unearthing the 'truth' in a social circle. be it the seemingly insightful Page 3 or the compeltely idiotic Traffic Signal, he delivers in only one thing... a plethora or quirky characters... with almost half of them having their sexual quirks highlighted. Some people might call it 'realism'. But realisim to be entertaining has to be backed by strong characters and good acting. TS has really poor casting and most actors just cannot 'act naturally' enough. They are like the Indian cricket team. Good on paper but dunces while performing.

If you had not already guessed, the movie is about the kinds of characters that make a living at a traffic signal. A collection of beggars, madcaps, child beggars, paper sellers, car windshield cleaners, prostitutes, selling their wares to child molesters, the immoral rich, the gullible and the cruel. And surprise surprise !!! there are no 'earbud sellers !!!'. There is a thin storyline that ties them together... something that is once again expected but fails to incite neither interest nor sympathy.

The dialogues were artificial, and the acting straight out of a school play. The sidekick (who plays Sehwag's sidekick in those suiting ads)... has too proud an expression on his face for a beggar... The dress hawker looks and talks like a model. The children just over act all the time... be it those telephone booth scenes or those happy moments where they line up for a photo. Most of the children seem too well fed to be beggars... especially the kid who sells papers... that guy is almost corpulent. Just because people rub coal on their face.. doesnt make them look poor. They gotta have a lean mean look to them to pass off as beggars.

The movie reeked of staleness. There was this scene where all those beggars gathered around the traffic signal while it was beign uprooted. It was supposed to be a moving situation but the entire theatre burst out laughing. Makes you wonder how many traffic signals are there in Mumbai and whether each signal has such a community. All those guys have to do is split themselves equally among all the other traffic signals. Why are they gathering around like they have no place to go? And who is that jolna pai character ? And why is he picking up discarded Indian flags with Vande Mataram playing in the BG before the break? We all thought documentary features were played before the movie.. not during it.

Another crib is that the movie just introduces characters for the sake of it. The rich guy and his concubine in the Merc... they were just time and space fillers. The boytoy was another space filler. 'Tsunami'. Where did he go? None of the characters were enjoyable nor were they part of 'social satire'. And.. where were the ear bud selers ? How can a traffic signal be complete without them?

So... the movie wasted about 2.5 hours of my time... introduced about 40 characters easily... none of which are even remotely interesting... spins a contrived story which is logicless and baseless and ends in the most contrived situations in Hindi cinema. (So what if a traffic signal is uprooted because of a fly over ? Its not like the beggar jobs are going to be offshored is it ?).

Let me try once more to be SUN TV in reviewing..
TRAFFIC SIGNAL...??? STOP... U-TURN... and ACCELERATE.
Please avoid at any cost.

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