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Lucknow Central review: Supporting cast outshine Farhan Akhtar in this jailbreak musical

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 15 September 2017, 15:07 IST
(Lucknow Central film poster)

Lucknow Central is one of those rare movies that severely picks up after the interval and it's not thanks to the two main leads.

The lead, Kishen Mohan Girhotra (Farhan Akhtar), comes from a small town and has big aspirations. He wants to become a professional singer and form his own band.

Overnight, he gets himself involved in the corrupt system when he is falsely accused in the murder of an IAS officer in Moradabad.

With just one witness confession, he is pronounced guilty and thrown into jail.

Based on the true story of the band "Healing Hearts", Lucknow Central is a Prison Break-esque prison drama that tries to pull you in emotionally and make you sing along with the music. Sadly, it's not very successful on either front.

Kishen finds himself in Lucknow Central under the watchful eye of jailor Shrivastava (Ronit Roy), who has mastered such roles over the years by playing similar characters in each film. Roy looks at ease with every passing scene.

In his new home, music still hasn't taken the front seat. Girhotra straightaway gets involved in the politics of the prison and immediately is bullied during lunch hour and has to fight his way through the system. Typical for any prison drama.

Under the orders of the Chief Minister (Ravi Kishan), things change. Do-gooder Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty), is tasked with setting up Lucknow Central's first ever band.

Eager Girhotra convinces Kashyap to take the job as he wants to be the frontman of the band.

The dream may be to form a band but the devious, behind the scenes plan, is to escape.

The film stumbles through the first half, but it's the introduction of the supporting cast and fellow band members - Gippy Grewal, Deepak Dobriyal and Rajesh Sharma - that the story takes off.

The first half is saddled with making you sympathise with Girhotra. It's hard to do so when he accepts his fate and barely resists a thing.

Girhotra finds his stride once he is a band leader. Akhtar though, fails to portray the role to the best of his abilities. His beefiness doesn't go with his character who lives on water inside the jail for many a day.

Diana Penty also wastes her chance to shine. In her cotton kurtis, she speaks shudh hindi but it seems like the days of Cocktail haven’t left her. It seems like she has been shifted to reporting on a whole different beat that she’d rather not be in. She just never gets comfortable enough.

The movie also suffers from several logical flaws, but that shouldn't really come as too much of a surprise in a movie like this.

#1DayToLucknowCentral! Who's watching our film this weekend?!

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Should you watch it?

The film lacks any urgency and isn’t really ‘Rock On behind bars’ that you’d expect, but the second half’s elevation is what makes this a decent one-time watch. The energy and choreography behind ‘Kaavan Kaavan’, the rehashed version of the Monsoon Wedding song, shows a glimmer of what the movie could have been if they had just let the music play a little bit longer.

The supporting actors help Lucknow Central find its engaging moments. You can miss it on the big screen but it is a worthy watch on TV when you aren’t too busy otherwise. It is far better than the other Prison Break drama released last month, Qaidi Band,

Rating: 2.5/5

First published: 15 September 2017, 15:07 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.