Kishore (Farhan Akhtar) is a young budding singer from Moradabad who dreams to make it big in the music industry with a band of his own. Somehow, owing to certain mishaps, he is convicted of the murder of an IAS officer and is sentenced to life imprisonment. Things get worsened when the family of the IAS officer appeal to the high court in order to change the life term to capital punishment.
Meanwhile, an NGO worker Gayatri (Diana Penty) is asked by the IG officer (Virendra Saxena) to create a band in Lucknow Central Jail as it’s the demand of the CM (Ravi Kishen) which she refuses leading to her expulsion. Kishore overhears an NGO worker talking about this and offers to help Gayatri create a band in Lucknow Central Jail.
Will Gayatri accept Kishore’s offer? Will she be successful in making a band in Lucknow Central Jail? What is the real motive behind Kishore’s help? Can he prove his innocence? Or will he have to take some dangerous measures to save himself from the rope?
Positive Points: –
- The casting of the movie has been amazing and so has been the performances of the actors. Almost everyone has done a spectacular job in their respective roles and have ensured that the entertainment factor of the movie doesn’t drop at any point.
- The storyline of the film is its backbone as the movie heavily relies on its strength to fight through its flaws and it does so successfully.
- Even though the soundtrack of the film is quite unconventional for a Bollywood movie and isn’t one which I would play while driving, it matches well with the mood of the film and is definitely well-made.
- The movie is heavily engaging in its 147 minutes long runtime and it makes sure that you don’t leave your seats at any moment.
- The crux of the film i.e. about the lives of prisoners is beautiful. It’s a common conception that prisoners and criminals are bad and remain so for the rest of the life for which they deserve harsh treatment, but the movie asks you to look beyond your narrow sight and view them as humans, which is praiseworthy.
Negative Points: –
- The direction as well of the screenplay have quite some loose ends especially as the movie approaches its climax. But then, the premise and the performances can help you ignore it blatantly, so no need to worry about it. *Winks*
- While many characters have gotten their respective spaces, some characters like that of the jailer and Gayatri could have been developed more owing to the heavy potential and depths they promised.
- The movie actually begins with the story of an innocent man convicted for no fault of his own and after around an hour, it shifts to the jail-band thing. This doesn’t affect the movie’s cinematic experience but its philosophical narrative gets disturbed badly; and sadly too!
Direction, Script & Other Technicalities: –
Ranjit Tiwari’s direction and his screenplay, co-written with Aseem Arora is definitely good but is also marred with several flaws. If the tone shifting of the story wasn’t enough, the movie’s attempts to hit the audience with mawkishness instead of sheer reality is a bit confounding. It’s interesting how the movie shows the jail to be guarded heavily even on its rooftops as Kishore enters but during the climax, it is left unguarded. We don’t even see Kishore’s lawyer putting up a strong fight for him or visiting him in Lucknow even once to discuss his case. Nonetheless, the essence of the film is hard-hitting and it makes the viewers question their conscience as well as their perspective about prisoners which earns the movie its brownie points.
The cinematography by Tushar Kanti Ray is wonderful, especially towards the end and the editing by Charu Shree Roy is tight. The music of the film is wonderful though I wasn’t convinced with the song Teen Kabootar being played in a crucial point in the movie because the song was supposed to be an acapella and the characters weren’t supposed to sing much more than the octaves. Anyway, seems like I gotta forgive this one too! *Sigh*
Farhan Akhtar, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma, Inaamulhaq as well as Gippy Grewal, all have done marvelous jobs as the band members of Lucknow Central Jail. Each one makes the best use of their screen-spaces and wows the audience with their acts. It’s really difficult to praise them all individually because their performances are a result of team-work and a wonderful chemistry they all shared onscreen.
Diana Penty has done a good job and she shows a lot of potential of being a good actress. However, she is overshadowed by the presence of other sterling actors and hence I feel someone like Vidya Balan could have fit in better in Gayatri’s shoes. No hard feelings Ms. Penty!
Ronit Roy is spectacular as the antagonist of the film and sets the screen on fire with his magical persona. Not enough of his character in the movie is one of my few complaints against the movie however.
Ravi Kishen makes an awesome cameo as the arrogant CM of Uttar Pradesh and he overshadowed everyone else who shared the screen with him. He once again proves that he exists in the industry because of his immense talent and not because of his star power in the Bhojpuri Film Industry. It’s one of the best Bollywood cameos I have seen in recent times.
Virendra Saxena has done a good job in his brief stint and it was good to see him back on screen after quite a while.
Final Verdict: –
Lucknow Central isn’t like most prison-dramas which makes it amazing and even more powerful than expected. It surely has its share of flaws but the acting and technical department take care that it doesn’t succumb to the same. Engaging from the very beginning to its very end, it’s something you can hardly afford to miss this autumn.