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Review: Siddharth the Prisoner

india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 17:39 IST
Shashi Baliga

Siddharth the Prisoner
Direction: Pryas Gupta
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Sachin Naik, Praddip Sagar)
Rating: **

It’s the return of the briefcase. Last seen memorably in Aamir, it makes a strong comeback in Siddharth The Prisoner — in one more double role.

Briefcase 1 holds the only manuscript of a novel by writer Siddharth Roy (Rajat Kapoor). Briefcase 2 is stashed with cash entrusted to Amin Bhai (Praddip Sagar), a mafia underling. When the two get exchanged at a cybercafé, Roy lucks out. But Mohan (Sachin Naik, the Happydent model if you remember), who looks after the cybercafe, is beaten up by gangsters who are convinced he’s done the dirty on them. Then follows murder, mayhem and much, much more as Roy launches into a hunt for his manuscript and Mohan tries to get the money — and his life — back.

Problem is, Roy has other problems. His wife Maya has filed for divorce and refuses to let him meet his son Krish. He is just out of prison (don’t ask why; Pryas Gupta doesn’t tell us) and has no discernible source of income (except for the briefcase of course). And, ouch, he just missed the Booker prize with his earlier novel.

The last is not difficult to understand —a writer who is imbecile enough not to keep a single copy of his manuscript is an author who does not deserve the carbon-less sheets of paper that he types on.

Perhaps it’s because Gupta imprisons Roy in a permanently traumatised state. His eyes wear a haunted glaze throughout the movie, he speaks largely in monosyllables, he broods... and broods some more.

Rajat Kapoor puts in an earnest performance, given the rather monochromatic character sketch he has to work with. He has few lines, and fewer still that rise above a tormented whisper. His most animated dialogue goes “Krish! Krish!” as he looks for his son, who he has managed to lose at a railway station. You’re almost tempted to wish it were Krrish with a double ‘r’ and that some supernatural power could come to Kapoor’s rescue — and ours.

A pity, really, because this movie had the potential to be engrossing. Most of the characters ring true; some, like Krish’s nanny, are well done and the cinematography works. The background score is interesting too, though it gets monotonous after a point. Which, in fact, pretty much sums up the movie too.