Lucknow Central Review by Indicine
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.
Lucknow Central Review by Bollywood Hungama
Ranjit Tiwari’s direction is simple but with such a flawed script, there’s nothing much he could have done. Few scenes are well handled but they all get overshadowed by the many bad scenes. Aseem Arora’s dialogues however are fine, especially the ones mouthed by Ravi Kishan. Farhan Akhtar delivers a decent performance and manages to carry his duty of a leading actor. But this performance is no way close to his other memorable performances. Diana Penty looks pretty and doesn’t get much scope. After such a crucial role in Happy Bhag Jayegi, it’s disappointing to see her in such a weak part. Deepak Dobriyal as always is dependable and gets the Bengali accent right. He is quite moving in the scene where he meets his father. Rajesh Sharma also proves his worth and performs ably. Inaamulhaq gets a raw deal and could have done better. He rocked the show in Filmistaan and also in Jolly LLB 2. But here he just doesn’t work. Gippy Grewal gets a chance to shine despite the presence of so many actors. A fine performance and his look is quite interesting! Ronit Roy is menacing as always but his performance suffers due to bad writing. Ravi Kishan (Pawan Singh Chaturvedi) takes the film to another level with his cameo appearance. His dialogue on Donald Trump will be loved. Robin Das (Kishan’s father) is okay. Manav Vij has intense eyes and is alright. Virendra Saxena (IG) does fine. Manoj Tiwari plays himself and there’s nothing much to talk about his act.
Lucknow Central Review by Sukanya Verma on Rediff
Lucknow Central comes alive in their combined chemistry and culminates fruitfully in Jee Karda, a spectacular recreation of the Monsoon Wedding original. The film doesn’t make any significant statements on the legal system or rehabilitation beyond tedious displays of violence or stray moments, like when the out-on-parole convicts realise they are unwelcome, unfit for the world that has moved on without them. Of course the harmless temper and measured fervour of Lucknow Central’s key players insists they are not all bad. And for a while, you believe it too!
Lucknow Central Review by Ankita Chaurasia on Bollywood Life
Lucknow Central isn’t a fun watch, it isn’t enlightening, says nothing new and wants you to root for its protagonist without making any effort to help you connect to him. As a film, it fails in its purpose of making an impact. And yet, the novelty of seeing inmates being offered a chance at reformation is refreshing. We certainly need more such stories but yes, they need to be told better too.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Farhan Akhtar is good in his emotional and intense scenes but he looks repetitive. His performance could easily remind you of the Rock On franchise. Diana Penty looks sober but she has nothing much to do in the film. Any heroine could have pulled this role off. Inaamulhaq brings out the comic element in the film and he is too good. Deepak Dobriyal is a visual treat like ever before. Gippy Grewal looks as apt for his role as he performs quite well being primarily as a singer. Ronit Roy is good to watch. Ravi Kishan is satisfying as a whacky CM with his funny dialogue deliveries. Lucknow Central is a riveting tale of prisoners with an interesting premise and some sparkling performances but similarities with Qaidi Band will surely affect the film in every possible way.
Review by Renuka Vyavahare on The Times Of India
Based on true life events, Lucknow Central is a feel-good, human, prison-break drama that succeeds to manipulate you emotionally, despite being predictable and filmy in portions. While the peg is somewhat similar (barring the undertrial element) to the recent Qaidi Band, Lucknow Central has a distinct execution and is way more evolved.
Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
Thanks to Ravi Kishan and Dobriyal, Lucknow Central could bring in some humour. The support cast saves the film from going totally wayward. Lucknow Central fails to utilise its resources, especially Diana Penty, and loses out on a chance to become a really engaging film. Like Prison Break, it never reaps the benefits of a promising start.
Review by Sonil Dedhia on Mid-Day India
Lucknow Central will make you laugh and cry, and will leave you with memories that last long after the film concludes. The scene where Kishan experiences the immanent deathly circumstances that await him as a jailor gives him a tour of the premise, is impactful. Though commercial in approach, Tiwari keeps his film unpretentious and thus, relatable. Akhtar, with an accent that’s spot on, put on an appreciable performance.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
This brings us to the band. How Farhan’s simple singer manages to figure out where all the guns and patrol cops are located and where the electrical switches as though he were James Bond is not explained. How he manages to find out which prisoner is good at what skill is a puzzle too. But we suspend our disbelief and watch Farhan survive bullying by the prison heavy Tilakdhari (a scary Manav Vij), and collect his crew, both for the band and the escape. Deepak Dobriyal, Imamulhaq, Rajesh Sharma and Gippy Grewal are a motley crew, and it’s a miracle they manage to crack a tune.
Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala
Lucknow Central packs some interesting performances, especially from the supporting cast. Ronit Roy and Ravi Kishan are in top form. They give gravitas to their lines and characters, creating just the right amount of disgust and danger. Deepak Dobriyal, Inamul Haq and Rajesh Sharma show promise yet again. Diana Penty aces one expression in the film. She looks mostly annoyed….with the script or her character, we couldn’t say! Farhan Akhtar is another weak link. He is too South Mumbai to pass off as someone from Moradabad. His emotions are intact but he falters big time in getting the dialect right, as he turns ‘time’ into ‘tame’ and ‘crime’ into ‘keeraaime’. His delivery is as superficial and contrived as his knowledge of taal in the film. He slips in “Taal Dadra” or “Taal Deepchandi” often, in case we forget his musical dreams. Wah kya character consistency hain! His rustic background leading to a powerful, raspy stage performance made me feel that it could have been better titled as Rock Milkha Rock.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
A possible struggle for Farhan Akhtar would’ve been to internalise this hinterland hero without allowing his Rock On mojo to surface even for a flashing moment. But grooving to Bhojpuri superstar Manoj Tiwari’s numbers, Akhtar is fairly convincing and even manages to evoke empathy for this character when situations turn against him. Slipping into cotton kurtis, Diana Penty mouths shuddh Hindi but seems like an intern with a glam mag who has been suddenly shoved into the reporting team of a city tabloid. When a lone tear drop slithers down her creaseless face, she could pass for a dainty damsel playing a human rights activist in a fancy dress competition. As the abominable jailor, Ronit Roy effectively channels an avatar that seems like a natural extension to many he’s played in the past — consistently grim, alert and suspicious. From the supporting cast, the impressive Deepak Dobriyal has been largely wasted here, while Gippy Grewal’s scorned lover is quite unlike the romcom leads he usually plays in Punjabi films.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
Farhan Akhtar is fair but nothing great to talk about. Diana Penty looks beautiful but she is handicapped by a poorly written role. Deepak Dobriyal, Inaamulhaq, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma prove their worth but they don,t get proper meat in their role to add to the band’s beat in favour. Same with Ronit Roy who is honestly menacing in whatever the role has offered. Other actors like Robin Das (Kishan’s father), Manav Vij, Virendra Saxena, Manoj Tiwari chip in with valuable support.
Review by Tushar Joshi on DNA India
Lucknow Central had the potential to become an entertaining film with its realistic premise and eclectic ensemble, but thanks to a weak plot and incoherent direction it fails to connect with you on several levels. Despite a unique take on the story of a prisoner, the film falls flat because it doesn’t attempt to do anything different. The supporting characters including Kishan are all stereotypes we have already watched in other films. Diana Penty stands out like the odd man out in this performance heavy cast. The jokes and gags are weak and the focus is more on creating a wave of sympathy for Kishan and his band rather than letting us feel for them organically. Director Ranjit Tiwari feels lost in translation with the kind of film he’s set out to make. Post-interval, the story not only gets predictable but the way the climax unfolds just fails to hold any interest for you.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the plot itself, though it somewhat mirrors what we saw in Qaidi Band, it is evident that Lucknow Central has been made intelligently with a proper balance between realism and entertainment. The rivalries between the factions in the prison have been effectively portrayed and the final escape scene has some tense moments. The dialogues are real enough and the doses of humour help cut the tension in the air.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
It is the supporting cast which is spot on, especially Sharma and Dobriyal: is there anything the latter can’t do? But more than anything else, it is the mawkish sentimentality which overcomes the story-telling. When it is not that, then we find our fine conspirators being much too dramatic. When will Bollywood learn the value of letting silence create drama? You don’t need to drown everything with background music: that is certainly not jailhouse rock.
Review by IANS on Sify
Lucknow Central sucks is into its human drama. It gives a flying hoot about commercial trappings, keeps the frames stark , bare and daunting. No concession is made to glamorous props.And if Diana Penty playing a kind of self important activist prison-reformist that would otherwise seem satirical, happens to be naturally glamorous, it’s just too bad. Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray looks for corners and crevices in the human heart to shoot feelings behind prison walls. When in the second-half the flexible narrative moves effortlessly into a philosophical mode we are prepared for the transition much in the same way that Kishen prepares himself for prison life.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
To begin with, the makers of this film spend more than an hour on set up. Introductions, back-stories, new rivalries in prison…frankly it’s exhausting. The band is finally set up just moments before intermission, so there’s a long way to go until we find out if they’re able to pull off their audacious plan. Surprisingly one of the film’s big weaknesses is its leading man Farhan Akhtar, who appears so invested in playing ‘hero’ that he forgets to play the character. Both his toned physique and his physique-accentuating costumes look out of place in this movie. Casting Ronit Roy as the nostril-flaring jailor who inspires dread in his inmates has got to be the laziest decision, and Diana Penty is just blah in the role of an NGO worker convinced that forming a band and performing at an inter-jail concert will help reform these hardened criminals.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
While the first half is full of what you would expect, the only variety from other “prison” films is the intensity and type of torture of fist-fights between inmates. The second half brings in some edge-of-the-seat moments leading to one of the two possible climaxes, making the end largely predictable.
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