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Traffic Signal review
'Traffic Signal' An Okay FilmBy Aparajita Ghosh
Film critic, ApunKaChoice.Com
Madhur Bhandarkar has a penchant for stories that expose different aspects of modern society. And he imbues his movies with an element of realism. After the hard-hitting ‘Page 3’ and ‘Corporate’, the unconventional filmmaker completes his trilogy with ‘Traffic Signal’, which attempts to take you into the world of people making a living on traffic signals.
The characters in the film are straight out of life: beggars, petty sellers, goons, prostitutes, drug addicts, gays and pedophiles etc.
Yet ‘Traffic Signal’ keeps the audience interest alive for most part of its running time. And the credit should go jointly to Bhandarkar and the actors for portraying the characters with conviction.
And some of the characters are indeed interesting. There is Silsila (Kunal Khemu), the manager of Kelkar Marg signal who collects hafta from those ‘working’ at the signal. There is Rani (Neetu Chandra), who sells traditional clothes at the signal. There is Noorie (Konkona Sen Sharma), a prostitute who solicits customers at night. There is Dominic (Ranvir Shorey), a drug addict telling his sad stories to everyone. And there is Haji (Sudhir Mishra), a local Mafioso to whom all the money collectors from signals give their share.
At many instances it appears that Madhur wanted to shock his audience by bringing forth certain aspects of lives of these people which laymen may never have known. For instance, the man who begs during day goes to see a movie in a posh multiplex at night. Or beggerboys buying fairness cream from their day’s labour. Or a gay who offers his services to those willing to take.
The film also has emotional moments like the death of the drug addict (Ranvir) whom the prostitute (Konkona) loves. Or the killing of Manoj Joshi that actually sets the story in motion until its abrupt climax. The end doesn’t show the protagonist thrashing the bad guys. Bhandarkar gives a very realistic conclusion to the story.
‘Traffic Signal’ is entertaining in parts only. There are moments when the film looks completely pointless. It looks like a mere exposé of the lives of people living on traffic signal. And it gives no message.
What saves the film is performances by the actors. Kunal Khemu is brilliant as a shabbily dressed, beedi-smoking goonda with a golden heart. Konkona Sen impresses very much in a role that she was hesitant to take in the first place. Ranvir Shorey is simply superb. He has a natural flair for acting. Neetu Chandra is effective. Sudhir Mishra, with his stoic presence and piercing gaze, perfectly suits the role of a local gangster.
Madhur Bhandarkar puts a strong element of realism in the film. The dialogues are in street lingo, with some foul language thrown in. The ambience looks very authentic and hardly seems like a set created by Nitin Desai. Cinematography is appealing to the eye. Among the film’s songs, ‘Yehi Zindagi’ is the only one that stands out.
In a nutshell, ‘Traffic Signal’ is not a bad film. Only it has no point to drive home.
Copyright 2008 ApunKaChoice.com. All rights reserved.
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