By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
There's a thin line that divides unconventional and experimental cinema. SIDDHARTH - THE PRISONER, directed by debutante Pryas Gupta, has an unconventional plotline, but what comes across is quite abstract. In fact, a film like SIDDHARTH - THE PRISONER is more suited for film festivals, not mainstream commercial platform.
Also, Pryas's prayaas sounds interesting on paper, but is not even part interesting on celluloid.
Just released from prison, Siddharth [Rajat Kapoor], a once-famous writer, completes a new manuscript. He re-engages with the outside world, hoping that the new book will restore his reputation and reconcile him with his estranged wife Maya.
However, fate has other plans for Roy when his briefcase gets exchanged at a cyber café with a similar briefcase containing a large sum of money. Roy loses the only copy of his manuscript, while Mohan [Sachin Nayak], the cyber cafe manager, comes under pressure from his boss [Praddip Sagar] to recover the lost money.
Director Pryas Gupta devotes the entire first hour in introducing the handful of characters in the film. Ideally, a thriller -- this one had the potential to be a riveting fare -- should unfold at a feverish pace, but the story unfolds at a lethargic pace and worse, there's not much movement in the story in the first hour. In fact, the first hour is too boring.
But the plot does move post intermission, more so towards the pre-climax when everyone starts double crossing the other. Sadly, the end ruins just about everything. What was Pryas wanting to say, lacks clarity. There may've been a message, but it doesn't come across at all.
Besides, the screenplay leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The film begins with Rajat being released from prison, but the reasons that resulted in this celebrated writer being put behind bars remains a mystery till the end. Ditto for the failed relationship that she shares with his wife. Half-baked tracks. Also, Rajat's about-turn in the penultimate moments looks weird.
The direction is below the mark, while the writing is bad. Ditto for the editing.
Rajat Kapoor doesn't get much lines to deliver. Nor is he given an opportunity to display histrionics. He's strictly okay. Sachin Nayak enacts his part convincingly. Praddip Sagar has his moments. Pradip Kabra is bland.
On the whole, SIDDHARTH - THE PRISONER is too abstract for Indian moviegoers. A disastrous fate awaits this film at the box-office.
Bollywood.com Rating: 1