The attempt is to throw light on the sorry state of predators turning man-eaters as a result of human encroachment. But somewhere along the way, the goal is lost as the camera lingers more on human drama than the cause.
The plot: Married couple Radha (Nandana Sen) and Pritam (Ankur Vikal) seek peace at a wildlife getaway to ‘sort things out’. Abhishek (Jaaved Jafferi), a wildlife officer at the same forest, lives with his son Arjun (Salim Ali Zaidi) and also happens to be Radha’s ex. In the vicinity is a man-eating leopard on the loose.
A night of casual hunting turns into much more when all of them are confronted with the blood-seeking animal and by their own passions.
The good: The rich, vibrant frames captured by lensman Markus Heursch substantially add to the subject. A superb job has been done of shooting in the wildlife, which is otherwise tricky terrain to capture. The subject chosen by Ashvin Kumar, deserves credit because ecological issues go largely unnoticed. Jaaved Jafferi as the wildlife officer, plays his character with more conviction than the rest of the cast.
The bad: Ashvin Kumar’s documentary Inshallah Football had won the National Award for Best Film on Social Issues. This time, he picks an ecological issue but his treatment of the subject remains documentary-like under the guise of a feature film. Kumar who has written, directed and partly produced the film errs with his writing. The inclusion of a parallel sub-plot of Jaaved Jafferi’s (Abhishek) and Nandana Sen’s (Radha) past fling which spills over into a raw lovemaking sequence, probably put in to captivate the viewers, only succeeds as a distraction. The screenplay (Ashvin Kumar again), moves at a snail’s pace, making even 90 minutes feel really long. Dark (literally) for the most part, the film also tethers on the edge of gruesome, showing bloodied images that leave you flinching. Most of the film is in English save for a few parts, which isn’t likely to go down well with Hindi film viewers who in any case wouldn’t venture into something like The Forest. The relationship between Nandana Sen and her husband Ankur Vikal is unconvincing, especially after he learns of her infidelity. Ankur Vikal as Pritam fails to deliver an impactful performance. Even though the film belongs to the thriller genre, it invokes little curiosity about what’s going to next unfold on screen.
Overall: Not just aircraft, Dr Vijay Mallya (the producer) has a high chance of losing money on this piece of ‘craft’ as well. No reason why you too should jump on to this bandwagon.
– Nikita Periwal