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A man gets stuck in an empty high rise without food, water or electricity.
If there is one thing that still makes intelligent people go to the movies, it is the little bit of realism that today’s independent movies adopt. While Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan (2015) is one such film that comes to my mind right now, this emotional thriller here is going to be on my mind when I review a next similar-kinda film.
Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) is a young working-class man who has finally found his purpose through his lady-love Noorie (Geetanjali Thapa), a coworker who is about to get married to someone else. He succeeds in cajoling her to marry and move in with him, but she only has one condition: get an apartment (rented will do) for himself and then they can start complementing each other. Shaurya agrees, pulls up his socks, and gets on with room hunting, only to be the victim of one hasty, badly-made decision.
Starting from the first scene, Rao keeps you hooked with his nuanced performance, as writers Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta slowly introduce him as this desolate youngster trying to woo one of his coworkers. The tiny amount of playful romance the film uses to kick-start what quickly becomes an ordeal for the relatable protagonist is what essentially works for the film. With shades of subtle humor and realism in every few scenes as the story slowly inches forward, the film tries to address a handful of issues. The primary one being isolation (from the outside life) and its acknowledgment. It is the central theme of the film, which it then goes to explore and come to the point that fear breeds isolation, which can only be overcome by courage.
Other causes it faintly touches are real estate issues, religion, vegetarianism, and self-reliance. While it may be easy to eschew these delicate samples in the film, what you cannot ignore is the sheer simplicity of the plot-line. The film is inherently about Shaurya and his experience as a guy who gets locked up in a flat in a high-rise without food, water, or electricity, which robs him of more than just few days’ life. But, what the film tries to say between the lines is something extremely relevant in this time of a connected world where people are moving away from each other.
Motwane’s actors are brilliant in their collective act, and are real pleasure to watch. Rao is phenomenal as the taciturn, unlucky guy whereas National Award-winning Thapa mesmerizes me in this short role that she does with finesse and loveliness. Rao has always done roles that demand a great effort, and in here, his efforts have paid off. Of course, many people could have done this, but I cannot think of anyone else who would have done such a great job. The supporting cast are well directed, and support the film in its quest to convey a message or two without inducing ennui. Of course, there are long sequences where the central character just stares into the moonlit sky, but branding them as boring is like disrespecting the art of realistic cinema. Realism, surprisingly, comes with its fair share of bitterness, and Trapped balances it perfectly.
It’s an emotional thriller that should be lauded for its experimental nature, minimalistic storytelling, and brilliant overall filmmaking. It wouldn’t have been what it is without the arresting music by Alokananda Dasgupta, crisp editing, and fine photography. The sequences and score are going to play with your mood and your emotions as you try to pointlessly help Shaurya get out of the flat. Furthermore, it is obvious that this is a thinking man’s film and not a typical Bollywood thriller.
BOTTOM LINE: Vikramditya Motwane’s “Trapped” is a brilliant fun- filled thriller made with so much less yet heavy substance that it drives home a point or two and tugs at your heartstrings once or twice all in a 100 minutes. Go watch it at your nearest theater.