Lucknow Central: Great performances can’t salvage a weak plot
Movie Review by Anand Jha (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Lucknow Central has a promising premise and an impressive start. As the characters are introduced one after the other, you are drawn into their world, start feeling for them and are all set for a great prison-break film. But the film fails to meet your expectations and ends up disappointing you. Weak execution of script proves to be its biggest enemy closely followed by large loopholes in the screenplay.
We are first introduced to Kishan Girhotra (Farhan Akhtar), a small town boy who dreams of making it big as a playback singer and forming his band. Kishan uses all the money he’s got to produce a CD, which he wants his favorite singer (Bhojpuri superstar Manoj Tiwari in a cameo) to listen to, and decides to catch hold of him post a local concert. However, owing to commotion at the concert an IAS officer is killed and unfortunately, Kishan is framed for it. While in jail, Kishan awaits a fair trial optimistic of his release. All hopes get dashed when he is sentenced to lifetime imprisonment and is shifted from Moradabad Jail to Lucknow Central, which is headed by menacing Jailor Srivastava (Ronit Roy), who’s hell bent on making the lives of prisoners miserable. We are also introduced to Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty), a NGO worker who is driven by humanitarian values to reform criminals and develops a soft corner for Kishan and believes in his innocence.
You are also introduced to other jail inmates- Parminder Singh Trehan (Gippy Grewal) a jagran singer, Victor Chattopadhyay (Deepak Dobriyal), an electric engineer, Purushottam Madan Pandit (Rajesh Sharma), a tailor and Dikkat Ansar (Inaamulhaq), who cleans the jail and has access to almost all the locks. With interesting back stories and character arcs, these characters immediately strike a resonance with the audience. They, along with Kishan, are all looking forward to escape the dreary prison life. Owing to their special skills and background, they are brought together by Kishan as he plans a prison break. Their plan is aided by minister Pawan Singh Chaturvedi (Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kissen) pursuit for introducing music in prisons and bringing a music band competition to jails.
While the characters are etched well, you soon start seeing gaping holes in the plot. Albeit, performances from all the actors are commendable. Gippy Grewal as Parminder Singh gets into the skin of the character. Farhan as a small town street smart boy gives a convincing performance. Ronit Roy as the pan-chewing jailor is menacing and brilliant. Deepak Dobriyal as Victor Chattopadhyay is a complete contrast from his goofy Tanu Weds Manu character and it is easy to see how gifted he is and can manage to portray diverse characters effortlessly. The only weak link is Diana Penty, who lacks a powerful screen presence and the fierceness that her role demands. A special mention for Rajesh Sharma, who absolutely brings alive the character he portrays as an inmate with immense clout inside jail but a vulnerable father, whose daughter is all set to get married.
The movie has its fair share of good music as most Farhan Akhtar movies do and we absolutely loved listening to Rangdaari and Meer-e-Karewaan. The Lucknowi accent used by most characters through the film is slightly problematic as it fails to sound very authentic with over-enunciation of certain words. The screenplay gets weak as the film progresses and by second half, it is so predictable that you start losing interest. As a result, it becomes a tedious watch.
But if you must watch, do watch it for some great performances by the lead actors of the film.