Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma, Ronit Roy
Director: Ranjit Tiwari
When was the last time Bollywood gave us a prison drama that manages to engage without depressing us?
‘Lucknow Central’ is a fascinating tale in many ways. A story about five convicts trying to form a band and make a break for freedom. It is also the very personal story of an aspiring singer, Kishen (Farhan Akhtar), who is falsely implicated for murder and is sentenced for life. Our protagonist’s only hope is this band of thugs.
Ranjit Tiwari does a commendable job of keeping the tone light despite this being an essentially dark subject: a plot involving convicts, miscarriage of injustice, life in prison and the general atmosphere of pervading doom.
What makes the story work are the actors – Rajesh Sharma, Deepak Dobriyal and Ronit Roy. They keep you invested even when the story slacks off. Akhtar approaches his role in all sincerity, but it is difficult to accept him as a small-town boy. His inconsistent accent too is a little nagging when the other actors pitch their portrayals perfectly.
Diana Penty, as a conscientious reformer of prisoners, struts around garbed in what appears to be Fab India’s entire collection. And that is pretty much all she does.
My principal grouse with the movie, however, is the music. Quite unlike ‘Rock On’, this ostensible ‘musical’ has little to flaunt. The ‘Meer-e-Karwaan’ track is somewhat hummable and the climactic ‘Kaavan Kaavan’ extricates the soundtrack from dire mediocrity.
But despite the flaws, I enjoyed ‘Lucknow Central’. In this nauseating Bollywood milieu of romances and revenge sagas, this one makes an honest attempt to break the monotony.