By Taran Adarsh Bollywood Hungama News Network
Madhur Bhandarkar is synonymous with thought-provoking, hard-hitting films. Right from CHANDNI BAR to FASHION, the expert storyteller has made movies that hold tremendous shock-value. In turn, Madhur has cultivated a rich fan-base for his films.
With JAIL, Madhur not only makes you visit a prison, but also makes you peep into the psyche of a prisoner. In the recent past, Sriram Raghavan's EK HASINA THI [2004; Saif Ali Khan, Urmila Matondkar] and Nazim Rizvi's UNDERTRIAL [2007; Rajpal Yadav] narrated the travails and anguish of innocents who were falsely implicated in a case. Besides, Nagesh Kukunoor's TEEN DEEWAREIN [2003; Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Nagesh Kukunoor] too narrated the story of three convicts. But JAIL is different from the above-named films.
Besides watching a thought-provoking story on celluloid, one has also come to expect incredible performances in a Madhur Bhandarkar movie. And JAIL too is embellished with superb performances from its key actors.
JAIL transports you to a hitherto unknown world that most of us haven't seen and if this is its USP, it's also something that might go against it. Irrespective of how strong its merits are, a section of moviegoers [read families/kids], who generally tilt towards feel-good/sunshine/entertainment-filled cinema, might skip this film due to its dry [and at times depressing] theme.
In a nutshell, JAIL mirrors a reality in true Madhur Bhandarkar style. It's hard-hitting, it's compelling, it's thought-provoking. The efficient storyteller has the courage to speak a new language in every film and for that very reason, JAIL should be on your agenda.
Parag Dixit [Neil Nitin Mukesh] is living a dream life -- a great job and a loving girlfriend [Mugdha Godse]. However, things take an ugly turn when, after a series of unfortunate events, he suddenly wakes up in jail. Parag is perplexed. The only salvation he finds is in Nawab [Manoj Bajpayee], a convict, who believes that Parag is innocent.
Soon, Parag is left with a choice, to either live a life with hordes of broken hearts and shattered souls amidst the prison walls or hope to see freedom some day.
JAIL involves you from the very start. The inmates, their crimes, their individual stories… you get drawn into a world that's very real. So real that you feel it's happening right in front of your eyes.
Madhur has a knack of narrating stories and he narrates the story of Parag Dixit with razor-edge sharpness. Besides, JAIL also enlightens you of the legal process, which also acts as an eye-opener.
At the same time, the legal procedures and also the behavioural pattern of the inmates tend to get repetitive after a point and that's when you start feeling restless. Nonetheless, the post-interval has some interesting twists-n-turns, like the convicts' escape from the police van; prior to that Neil and Manoj exchanging stares before Neil perches himself in the van; Neil getting thrown in a dark cell, spending the next few days in solitary confinement; a convict using the garbage van as the means to escape; another convict realising that his wife is now a cop's mistress. Also, the climax is touching and moves you.
Madhur hits the right note yet again. Madhur, Manoj Tyagi and Anuradha Tiwari's script involves you in most parts. Raghuvir Shekhawat's dialogues are true to life. There's no scope for music in a film like JAIL, but the three songs are smartly integrated in the storyline. Kalpesh Bhandarkar's cinematography is top notch. Special mention must be made of Nitin Chandrakant Desai's prison set, where the film is entirely shot.
Not only does Neil Nitin Mukesh deliver his finest performance to date, but the performance would easily rank amongst the finest this year. He conveys the pathos and helplessness that this character demands with amazing understanding. He deserves all praise for his extra-ordinary portrayal.
Manoj Bajpayee pitches in a memorable performance. In fact, the supremely talented actor is in form after a long, long time. He's subdued all through, which only goes to prove that he knows the craft so well. Mugdha Godse underplays her part beautifully. Also, she carries the non-glam look well.
Aarya Babbar is fantastic. This film should make people sit and notice this young actor. Chetan Pandit is first-rate. Rahul Singh is excellent, especially in the sequence when he confronts his wife. The actor who plays the part of Joe D'Souza is effective.
On the whole, JAIL is a well-made film from an expert storyteller. At the box-office, the film will appeal to those with an appetite for hard-hitting, realistic fares, but its clash with AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI will affect its business to an extent.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3