A cold look at the politics that drives encounter specialists of the Mumbai police turns out to be more a clumsily constructed slide show than a substantial film which connects.
The plot: The Mumbai police is infused with a new energy in 2003 which fosters a handful of encounter specialists. Two of them are Pratap Pandit (Sonu Sood) and 12 years his senior, Arun Inaamdar (Naseeruddin Shah) who intensely compete with each other. Each keeps count of the number of scalps he has to his credit as each has his own web of informers, political backers and benevolent senior cops. Ultimately, both have to pay a price for their ruthlessness and rivalry.
The good: Hindi cinema has had its share of good-cop movies and Maximum could have been the unique knave in the pack as all its cops have shades of black, grey and a bit of white. This could have given the film the flavour of realism and made it relatable.
The performances are expectedly up to the mark. Sonu Sood shows variations at almost all stages in the film, switching well from hard cop to soft family man who doesn’t mind a one night stand or two. Naseeruddin Shah is at ease in a role that really doesn’t deserve his presence. Vinay Pathak as a politician and Amit Sadh as a TV journo do their jobs efficiently. Neha Dhupia as Sonu Sood’s wife Supriya, doesn’t have much to do other than serve tea and meals, wash clothes and be available for husband’s amorous wooing.
The bad: The trailers of the film promised a high-on-substance, volatile action affair, but it all comes crumbling down from the first scene onwards. First of all there isn’t exactly a well-plotted story that one can root for. There’s plenty of movement but little happening and before one event settles down to make sense, the screenplay has moved on to something else, leaving the audience disconnected at all times. The lack of motive behind the two main protagonists and no thrills on offer makes it a pointless watch. There are just an endless series of encounters, most of them staged, fake ones, with no details supplied, so there is no emotional connect with any character or killing. Similarly, there are innumerable raunchy item numbers, disjointed as always, making one feel that the Mumbai police operates maximum out of sleazy dance bars. There is no well-etched climax and no strong story to bind the characters. Kabeer Kaushik and Rakhi Soman don’t take a bow for the weak script. There isn’t any department where any worthy work has been put in.
Overall: This is a cinematic encounter that you can skip without a qualm unless you’re looking for maximum tedium.
– Pooja Thakkar