Maximum: Movie Review

Maximum performances. Minimum impact.

Cast: Sonu Sood, Naseeruddin Shah, Neha Dhupia, Vinay Pathak, Aarya Babbar,Anjana Sukhani, Swanand Kirkire , Mohan Agashe

Synopsis: Mumbai 2003, a maze of local trains, throbbing crowds, big land deals and intense politics. And in the center of it all, a volatile story. Two cops, one journey and a struggle for power, maximum power. But they are not alone in this game, there are other players. The conspirators moving at every level. Taking the dream through layers of emotions and betrayals to an unpredictable climax.

Review: Maximum is allegedly based on the 2003 Mumbai cop rivalry that took place among the encounter specialists after the gang wars were over. The big shots apparently went head to head on the number of encounters during the lull after the gang war storm. The target – each other’s informers. Naseeruddin Shah (as senior encounter specialist Inamdar) and Sonu Sood (encounter specialist Pundit) play two such cops. The struggle over who bags the top posts in the department, who had the maximum number of encounters etc. were all highly publicized media stories as well. Director Kabeer Kaushik weaves a web around one such cop war. And then of course there is the political angle to it. Which cop is supported by which minister so on and so forth. Vinay Pathak steps easily into the role of one such politician and Neha Dhupia plays the ideal Indian wife to Pundit. 

Maximum therefore has a very intriguing real life drama element to it. But despite that it fails to hold your attention throughout the film. Yes, it has its high points; most of them involve Naseeruddin Shah. But overall it doesn’t leave an impact that is strong enough. This could be because the story has been stretched more than it should have. The same cop verses cop drama goes on again and again for way to long until the politicians and builders enter the picture. And even they don’t make it as interesting as one would want it to. The characters, however, have been sketched well. Atleast the lead character seems well developed. Pundit, a fearsome cop with a devil-may-care attitude, sheltered by his seniors for being so valuable. On the other hand, a loving husband and father at home (baring an unnecessarily thrown in scene of suggested infidelity). Sonu Sood plays the character with ease. But somehow you still have a feeling that it could have been taken to the next level. Even so, he defiantly is a talent to reckon with. The pride and fear he exudes when at the top of his game and the vulnerability when everything falls apart, both played with equal flair. Naseeruddin Shah as Inamdar, is brilliant as the ‘Ghayal Sher’, the old encounter specialist who’s hungry for more fame even at his age. But unfortunately you’re left wanting more of Naseeruddin Shah. Vinay Pathak and Neha Dhupia, both do justice to their roles. 

Pundit’s character despite being well sketched fails to pull the audience towards him. Maybe if the performance was just a notch higher, or the writing was stronger and more heart wrenching. Because in the end, you feel nothing for the characters. You don’t care if they die in the struggle or live. You’re not touched by their human side and you don’t fear their animal instincts. You walk out of the theatre feeling indifferent: saying ”Oh, just another cop drama”.

Verdict: Even power packed performances don’t save the film from being an average affair.  

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