Indian movies have recently been doing very well internationally. Only a few months ago, Zoo was in the news for being selected in the 22ndBusan Film Festival line-up. Another film to make it to Busan this year is Dipesh Jain’s In the Shadows. This one is a psychological drama about a man who is trapped within the walls of a city as well as his mind.
Background and Story:
Khuddoos (Manoj Bajpayee) is not like most middle-aged men. He usually spends his time indoors, has little to no friends and constantly spies on his neighbors. His childhood friend Ganeshi (Ranvir Shorey) is concerned about his behavior and tries to help him but to no avail. Khuddoos begins to hear the cries of help from a teenager, who is regularly beaten by his father. In his obsession to save the boy, Khuddoos begins to lose touch with reality and becomes antisocial.
In a parallel storyline, a boy and his friend love spying on their neighbors. In one of his attempts, he realizes that his father (Neeraj Kabi) is having an affair. He cannot confront him, as he fears being beaten black and blue, but his attempts to evade his father or run away do not turn fruitful. Meanwhile, his mother (Shahana Goswami) is pregnant the third time, and the arrival of a new baby might just turn his life upside down.
Why You Should Watch:
Like most of the films he stars in, Manoj Bajpayee does a fantastic job. He is pretty convincing in his role of a man losing touch with reality. Ranvir Shorey has a very small part to play in the film, but both Neeraj Kabi and Shahana Goswami do a great job as the menacing father and loving mother. The casting of the film could have been better but we have no complaints with regards to the lead actor and the main supporting cast.
The sound used in the film is meant to trap you within the city walls, so you feel the pain behind Manoj Bajpayee’s character. It is successful in that regard, and though very long and slightly dragged, it is difficult to break free of the claustrophobic feeling the film gets within you. You feel trapped in your seat, unable to look away or leave. The cinematography takes us through many areas of the slums Khuddoos lived in. With narrow paths and settlements all around, it is hard to get out of the expanse, literally and metaphorically, and that is exactly what the movie tried to show.
In the Shadows may or may not make a wider release in India, but if it does, do not miss the chance to see Manoj Bajpayee in yet another brilliant role. The climax will shock you, even though it seems a tad predictable. The film is not meant to be enjoyable, yet it is a cinematic masterpiece.