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Unjust Humanity
Movie review of Lucknow Central: A reflection of the system on men 15 September, 2017
Lucknow Central is an Indian film which has released in theatres today, on September 15, 2017. The film stars Farhan Akhtar, Deepak Dobrial, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Kumar, Ronit Roy, Diana Penty and Ravi Kishan in lead roles.

Produced by Viacom 18 and Emmay Entertainment, the movie has been directed by Ranjit Tiwari, who has assisted director Nikhil Advani in a couple of films including D-Day and Hero. The film has been written by Aseem Arora and Ranjit Tiwari. The screenplay & dialogues are by Aseem Arora.

Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma, Deepak Dobriyal, Inaamulhaq, Ronit Roy, Ravi Kishan

Director: Ranjit Tiwari

Genre: Crime thriller

Running time: 2h 15m

Rating: 3.5/5

As one watches Lucknow Central, one gets a glimpse of life in Uttar Pradesh, the state with the highest representation in the Lok Sabha – the lower house of Parliament. Politics is intertwined in UP's blood. Almost everyone would have either some connection or a brush with a politician or a bureaucrat.

Lucknow Central is no exception to this environment of UP. Little did Kishan Mohan played by Farhan Akhtar know that his unflinching passion for music and to create a music band of his own would land him in a false case of murder of an IAS officer and least was he aware that an accidental brash with the officer at a function would be seen as rivalry so deep that it would lead to Kishan murdering the IAS officer – at least that's what the system and people are led to believe.

Lucknow Central

The murder of an IAS officer is a grave attack on the system and the holes need to be plugged sooner than later. So, all the system needed was an apparent motive and a man who can be blamed. With no political clout being the son of a librarian from Moradabad, Kishan Mohan was the ideal and convenient victim. The pressure was high to punish him and his close friend's eyewitness' false statement, who was with him on the night of the incident, was enough to send Kishan behind bars for a lifetime.

CM, played by Ravi Kishan, wants to improve his public image and to gain political mileage, he announces a music competition between different jails of Uttar Pradesh and the event should be held at the Central Jail of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh popularly known as "Lucknow Central". Through whisper birds traveling across the state, Kishan comes to know about it and seeks help from Gayatri Kashyap (an NGO worker, who works on reformation of criminals) to have him transferred to Lucknow Central Jail where he intends to form his band.

The rest of the movie is about Kishan's stint inside the jail where he not only faces adversarial attitude from his fellow inmates, but also from the Jailor played by Ronit Roy. Gippy Grewal, his cellmate, Rajesh Kumar and Deepak Dobrial along with one more lifer, form his band inside the jail and the film captures a glimpse of their lives inside as they struggle to prepare for the music competition, covertly hatch a plot to escape jail as well and cover themselves from the prying and suspicious eyes of the Jailor who has a doubt on the intentions of the band even before they grouped.

Gayatri, on the other hand, finds a selfless human being in Kishan and sets out to find the truth of his case and works towards bringing out his truth, whereas, the IAS officer's family petitions for death row for Kishan.

It is tough to make a film that remains tight to its plot and loyal to its storyline from the beginning to end but director Ranjit Tiwari just succeeds in doing the same. The film does not bore you at any point and the performances are brilliant by each actor.

The ever prudent Jailor and the toughness of his character, laced with his weakness in front of his wife, whose number he has stored as "Dharamsankat" on his mobile, succinctly brings out the superficial fiery layer of his character which is in cahoots with the layered insecurity of his life and this jail being one place where his orders are God's commands and how dearly he holds on to that has been nicely portrayed.

Kishan, on the other hand, has a smooth metamorphosis in character. From a young, passionate man full of dreams who has too much hope that his favorite singer Manoj Tiwari would give him a chance after listening to his CD to the man who plans a jail break plan under the guise of a music band is scintillating.

The film portrays many realities of life in a very subtle and suggestive manner without getting into mundane details about any plot and yet beautifully paints the picture of the story that the director wants to tell. Whether, it is the self-realization of his entire band, except Kishan, that they do not have a life outside jail which they chance upon due to a parole granted to them on request of Kishan or the harsh realities of life that men go through and yet harbor a smile, have been shown to us in a way that does not bore us but intrigues us.

A film without much fanfare and the almost mandatory "love story" which actually had a scope between Kishan and Gayatri and is yet non-existent tells us that Indian cinema is maturing to move beyond a love affair at every interaction of a male and a female protagonist in the movie. However, the support that they give to each other as human beings is comforting and relaxing to see it without the prism of Romeo & Juliet.

Lucknow Central is a well-made movie that will not bore you and given the simple entertainment that it provides, we can surely neglect some of its glitches like the drums hiding the camouflage dresses get exposed, yet the band plays and a CM who speaks accented Hindi in itself and easily fumbles in English speaks "Don't forget this" with a perfect accent. These minor technical flaws only tell us that it was a human effort to make the movie and unless one sees it with a critical eye, won't be visible.

The songs "Rangdaari" and "Meer-e-Karwaan" latch onto ears and stay forever.

The intra-prisoner conflicts has also been nicely interwoven with the recruitment process by Kishan to form his band and does not add up as a distraction from the plot. Overall, it's a good movie that one can watch, a simple film without too much violence or vulgar scenes and something which can be definitely entertaining. We hope to see more good cinema from you Ranjit.

About The Author
Virag R Dhulia, a software professional, has been a prominent men's rights activist. He has been engaged in creating awareness about the abuse of men and their families through anti-male and gender biased laws like Section 498A, Domestic Violence Act etc. He has been instrumental in networking with fellow men's rights activist both across India and abroad and has played key roles in organizing events to create awareness about abuse of men by the society. A book titled, 'The Secrets of Manhood' authored by Virag has been published. This book is a collection of short articles which focus on issues and problems faced by men and how men are victims of social stereotypes.
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