Lucknow Central caught everyone’s attention when the trailers were released because of the uncanny resemblance it had with the movie Qaidi Band which released just a month back. The subject material seemed very similar. Farhan Akhtar hasn’t tasted much success recently as an actor, so will Lucknow Central be his redemption?
Story: Kishen Mohan Girhotra (Farhan Akhtar) is a young man who belongs to Moradabad, a city in Uttar Pradesh. One fateful day, Kishen gets accused of murder which lands him in Lucknow Central Jail where he’s awaiting his High Court trial for a death penalty. Meanwhile, a diligent NGO worker Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty), is compelled to form a Band of Prisoners for the band competition which is to be held in the dreaded jail of ‘Lucknow Central’ that year and this is how Kishen’s and her paths cross. Kishen befriends four other inmates and hatches a sinister plot which might ruin all of their lives. Is he successfull? You need to see the film to know.
Screenplay and Direction: Director Ranjit Tiwari has made a film which works on many levels but a lack of detailing coupled with baffling loopholes can take the viewer out of the film. The setup of the lead character’s fate of landing up in jail wrongly takes too much time and the film takes too long to get going. But when it gets going and when the other side characters are introduced, Lucknow Central becomes engaging. But, unfortunately, the climax takes too long to fully come through without becoming overbearing. The climax doesn’t work even though logically it should have worked.
Miscellaneous and Music: Lucknow Central has been given a realistic treatment in the film because the sets (even though it was shot in sets made in a studio) are believable and don’t look too studio-ish. The cinematography maintains a sense of cramped urgency. The editing could and should have been way tighter. Music is one of the positive parts of Lucknow Central because the songs take it up a notch (as they should in a film about a band). Kaavan Kaavan, Rangdaari and Meer-e-Karwaan all make a mark in the movie.
Acting: Lucknow Central may have been billed as an ensemble cast movie, but it relies squarely on the shoulders of Farhan Akhtar. Sadly, he’s again miscast in his role after last week’s Daddy. His histrionics and accent feel amateurish and too artificial even though his expressions and body language are sincere. Ronit Roy nails his part as the pan chewing jailor. Diana Penty gives it her best shot as the NGO worker. Gippy Grewal, the Punjabi superstar, brings a sense of masochism to the movie. Innamulhaq and Deepak Dobriyal are both brilliant in their roles. Rajesh Sharma and Ravi Kissen play their parts with utmost gusto. Lucknow Central deserves all the points for getting the casting right (except for the lead character).
Conclusion: Lucknow Central is working with ideas that have been seen in films for ages. Prison break movies are nothing new but to give it a different twist and make it watchable for the Hindi audience takes a lot of innovation. And unfortunately, the makers of Lucknow Central come up short. That’s not to say it doesn’t work. There are quite a few sequences which require a lot of sync and they work on screen too. Eventually, Lucknow Central works in bits and spurts. It can make for a decent one time watch.
- The casting is well put together
- The music is good
- The cinematography and set design is detailed
- Farhan is miscast
- There are quite a few loopholes in the story and the first half takes time to setup
- Doesn’t work all the way through with a prolonged duration and overstretched climax