Rajeev Masand’s Review of Monsoon Shootout

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Varma, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa, Sreejita De

Director: Amit Kumar

Monsoon Shootout poses an eternal question plaguing all of us – “Which road should one take?”

In this dark film (both literally and figuratively), a young rookie cop is faced with this moral dilemma as he corners a murder suspect, his gun trained on him in the pouring rain. Should he shoot him down or not? The man with the gun must decide between the right path, the wrong path, and the middle path – but as we all know, there are no easy answers to life’s choices.

Director Amit Kumar presents us with the shootout scenario, and the fantasy of what each choice will bring to the cop. So the story breaks off in three different directions. At first, this is interesting, but soon the film sinks in a quicksand of repetition. Each scenario has grim consequences, yet sadly, you don’t care much about the characters. The film hinges more on technique and style, like cutting away from a gruesome murder to a dahi handi being smashed. It’s all visually impressive, but feels superficial when you’re not invested in the characters.

That’s a pity because the filmmakers assemble a clutch of solid actors. Adi, the rookie cop, played by Vinay Varma, is offset by his cynical Crime Branch superior Khan (Neeraj Kabi). Varma plays the fresh-faced morally tortured young cop with earnestness, while Kabi is excellent; his face betrays little emotion, but he conveys scorn with a look or a few words. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is Shiva, the man staring down the barrel of the gun. He’s an axe murderer, and still conveys vulnerability, except that there’s a been-there-done-that feel to it, a tiredness that comes from playing similar characters on a loop.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Monsoon Shootout. Here’s a story with wasted potential, one that could have been more effective with tighter writing and clever twists. As it is, Monsoon Shootout is a wishy-washy affair.

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