Director Amit V Masurkar proves there’s hope. And he does this with a movie that’s unarguably carved its place in the rarefied group that will adorn the top of the list of 2017’s best movies. Newton is a stunning cinematic achievement, eschewing the high-ground or low-browed paths, choosing instead, to a take delightful path of rib-tickling, witty walk-around, not wearing anything on its sleeve, and yet making you cogitate on so many issues it highlights with the warmth of a friendly glow-worm.
Lucknow Central’s biggest problem is that director Tiwari and co-writer Aseem Arora try to straddle too many tracks – combining Prison Break with Happy New Year to make another The Shawshank Redemption. Except for the music competition, every story and subplot traces its genesis back to this all-time cinematic classic that’ll forever continue to warmly generate life’s lessons even as it ponders over human nature and failings via Morgan Freeman’s soothingly powerful voice.
The spark and fire generator is Kangana Ranaut, who comes through all shining and emotional armor. Her act as the thieving Praful is nothing short of brilliant. The first time she robs a counter and races away in her car, her expression betrays the sheer shock she feels running through her being, stunned by her own audacity. And then, she configures her expression into a magnificent dissolve of triumph and thrill, realizing that she can get away with it.
Director Ashim Ahluwalia’s Daddy unwaveringly and unequivocally fails on all counts, leaving you stunned at the enterprise and its unhappy achievement. Which is a bit of a surprise, really. For, based on Mumbai’s underworld gangster, Arun Gawli, you’d have thought the man’s life story and his rise and fall would have automatically made for some spiffy and crackling material onscreen.
The director beautifully builds the characters and their personalities through evenings of drinks, dinner, morning tea, parties, and picnics, getting their hairdo, spectacle frames, clothes and the 70s rebel look as if she’s made you travel back in time. As each scene unfolds, the layers of interaction between each of them and how they impact others does too.
Keeping the proceedings alive and kicking is the cast. As Mudit’s parents, Supriya Shukla and Chittaranjan Tripathy are superb. The latter, especially, is brilliant in a scene where he evokes a Pan Parag ad, just because he wanted to, for the longest time; or, when Mudit fails to show up in the bus to Hardwar, his alcohol-laced aggression is classic, more so when it’s followed by the inevitable open-mouthed slumber. On the other side, Seema Bhargava and Neeraj Sood are equally good as the girl’s parents; note again, the latter, as he gets tetchier by the moment and gives some terse advice to the hapless Mudit on the phone.