When you hold the gun in your hand, how long does it take to decide whether to shoot or not to? Barely a second. "Sahi raasta, galat raasta, beech ka raasta..yeh sab sochne ke liye waqt nahi bas ek pal rehta hai." (The right path, the wrong path or the middle path - one has less than a moment to make the decision. There's no time to think it over).
Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shootout is, in essence, a mind game; it captures the psychology of a cop at play against the backdrop of a chilling, high octane, police-gangster chase in Mumbai city underbellies. It is gripping and moves fast, frame after frame. What goes on at the back of the mind of a shooter, especially of a new inductee in Mumbai's crime branch, (Adi, played by Vijay Varma) who is sent out on field trials of his first criminal case under inspector Khan (Neeraj Kabi), and has a suspected criminal (Shiva, Nawazuddin Siddiqui) at gun point, is what the film is all about. Adi tries to understand whether his suspect is the man behind extortion killing. Is he a gangster or is he innocent? Should he shoot him or let him go. What will happen if he decides to do either? His moral dilemma sets the context for the movie.
All three eventualities play out elaborately one after the other—the first one, when he, as a novice, completely misses out on pressing the bullet, the next when he actually nails him, the third when he decides to let him go. And to giveaway what happens thereafter will mean giving away too much.
The film also brings to the fore behind-the-scenes drama of internal politics and corruption, but more than anything else, it talks a lot about the ability of humans to make decisions in the face of fire. It also shows how murder, blood, and violence affect the psychology of a young boy who then grows up emulating what he has seen in the past.
While Nawazuddin is totally cut for the role of Shiva, Vijay’s Adi shines brighter and does a very impressive job. Neeraj shows his finesse and delivers a strong performance throughout. Although Tannishtha (Shiva’s wife) and Geetanjali (Adi’s love interest) both have only small roles in the film, they are no doubt poignant.
Monsoon Shootout will make you think, question, feel, and put things into perspective. In fact, the movie is open to a number of perspectives and will affect everyone differently. It is a welcome change form the kind of predictable cop-gangster story lines Bollywood has churned out in the past. The film has a limited number of characters—a dedicated greenhorn, an experienced, senior encounter specialist, a suspected criminal, a greedy politician and an innocent young boy—all of who give very compelling performances. A brilliantly directed and executed film, this one keeps the viewer on the edge throughout. It is crisp, finely edited and definitely worth a watch.
Director: Amit Kumar
Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Tannishtha Chatterjee