Trapped
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Trapped Review: When going gets tough, Rajkummar Rao gets going

By Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times

Big cities can turn into a dystopian reality at will. It can squeeze, bruise and leave you scarred for life if you don’t act on time. Fortunately, in Trapped the gritty survivor shows the willingness to rise and shine.

A strict vegetarian Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) is fighting many demons together. Like many others in Mumbai, his hand to mouth existence is preventing him from marrying his girlfriend. He lives in a shared apartment with almost no connection with other flatmates.

Finally, he summons the courage to rent a separate apartment where he can live with his girlfriend. Limited budget forces him to choose a 35th floor flat in an uninhabited apartment that’s ironically named Swarg or Heaven.

Little does Shaurya know that the first day in his new home is going to be the longest of his life, and if he doesn’t get help on time then it may very well be his last.

Why?

Because the front door to the flat is accidentally locked and he is trapped inside. His phone has conked off and faulty wiring has made the electricity trip.

So what’s the big deal about it? He can always ask for help.

He actually does, but his voice doesn’t reach people several feet beneath him. It’s just the beginning, though. How can a person get trapped just like that in a bustling city like Mumbai? Well, director Vikramaditya Motwane answers all our queries one by one.

And mind you, Shaurya isn’t a dimwitted guy who will not do the obvious. His instincts are better than an average city-dweller and he can make tools out of ordinary household articles. For example, he can write help on a placard with toothpaste and throw it out of the window. Or, he can put some clothes on fire and hang them from the balcony to draw attention.

Somehow, nothing fetches him help. He has run out of water and food, but he doesn’t want to die, not just yet. The zeal to live drives him to be audacious, but how far can enthusiasm take him?

It’s a claustrophobic world where Siddharth Diwan’s camera relies mostly on natural light. He deliberately restricts your vision and makes the outside world look like a place where everybody is on an auto-pilot mode. Nobody knows and nobody cares either about what’s happening inside an abandoned building.

It’s this feeling of being lonely and left-out that makes Trapped a scary experience.

Motwane has a minimalist approach and he allows the audience to hold on to a particular idea or emotion. His framing allows us to come near the subject and feel the anxiety. Rao and the camera cross each other so many times that you feel as if you are watching Shaurya’s ordeal from close quarters.

In absence of many props, the onus falls onto Rao to keep the viewers engaged. He is earnest and brings a certain kind of honesty to Trapped. Be it Gangs Of Wasseypur, Shahid or Aligarh, he always turns his regular guy features into an asset.

More than the pain, he wants us to empathise with him. There might be a momentary lapse in his energy levels, but he isn’t weak, not intentionally at least.

This becomes really important for a film that has an ordinary folk at the helm of affairs. He is silently fighting his battle like most of us. Not many would know and care about his win, but it’s important for him. And Rao has just aced it.

Motwane and Rao form a lethal team that keep us hooked for 102 minutes, quite easily. Trapped is unique because it’s unlike any other one-room drama. It remains a personal story, more like a leaf out of Shaurya’s life than a cinematic celebration of a survivor.

Trapped is a defining film for Motwane who has become braver in using small spaces and silence. It’s the beginning of a style that we must see in his next films.

No interval release is going to make you understand Trapped better.