Film: “Traffic”; Director: Late Rajesh Pillai; Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Divya Dutta, Sachin Khedekar, Jimmy Shergill, Parambrata Chatterjee, Vishal Singh, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Kitu Gidwani, Vikram Gokhale, Amol Parashar and Nikita Thukral; Rating: **
The song by Mithoon and Arijit Singh, “Neki ki raahon pe tu chal”, aptly sums up the message of the film “Traffic”, a remake of the 2011 Malayalam film of the same name.
“Traffic” is a film with a strong premise and gives the message that humanity is still alive. It also portrays the Mumbai traffic police in a positive light. However, the film is completely devoid of any entertainment value and appears somewhat lacklustre.
Ramdas Godbole (Manoj Bajpayee), a traffic constable in the Mumbai police, with a tarnished image, takes upon himself the responsibility of reaching a donor’s heart from Mumbai to Pune, to save a 12-year old girl’s life, in a bid to redeem himself.
How the lives of several strangers in two cities (Pune and Mumbai) suddenly get intertwined in an emergency situation on June 25, 2008 and how humanity wins over every other human emotion, forms the crux of this two-hour film.
While the performance of all the actors is outstanding, however limited their screen time, Divya Dutta as Maya Kapoor, the anguished mother of the 12-year-old recipient of the heart, Sachin Khedekar as the father of the accident victim, trainee journalist Rehan Ali, Amol Parashar as Rajeev, Rehan’s friend and Parambrata Chatterjee as Dr Abel Fernandes, the cardiac Surgeon stand out with their effortless performances.
Prosenjit Chatterjee as superstar Dev Kapoor lends nothing to his character and perhaps is an extension of his real self. Jimmy Sheirgill as traffic commissioner Gurbir Singh evokes a feeling of deja vu as he is perpetually in a police uniform, indulging in the same histrionics and expressions.
Vishal Singh is endearing and his girlfriend too leaves an impact, albeit in a small role.
Manoj looks the character through his physical appearance and plays the traffic policeman with requisite restraint and responsibility, but frankly, he seems a tad disappointing after a film like “Aligarh”. But that has got nothing to do with his ability as an actor. It is just that he does not have enough scope to perform.
Apart from the message of humanity, the film fails to thrill. The deliberate track of Dr Abel to serve as an impediment in the journey, along with the emphasis on the limited time to complete the mission, seem forced and uncalled for, adding nothing to the film by way of entertainment.
The film engages you in its message and makes you laud the Mumbai Traffic Police, but does not really entertain you. Somewhere, although you feel for the characters, you are not one with them as they fail to strike an emotional chord with you.
The music by Mithoon in the two songs “Neki ki raahon pe” and “Kuch der sahi theher ja tu yahaan” are soulful and mesh well with the theme of the film.
As a director, the late Rajesh Pillai is true to the subject of the film, with no needless digressions or commercial elements, maintaining the sanctity of the theme, yet he failed to recreate the magic of the original.
Overall, moving on a smooth even path this “Traffic” seems to crawl, leaving you exasperated for some speed.