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Death In The City

Saturday, October 28, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

Rukh
Director:
Atanu Mukherjee
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Adarsh Gourav, Smita Tambe, Kumud Mishra and others
Rating: * * 1/2

Manoj Bajpayee is credited with a special appearance in Rukh, which means that he is not on screen enough, through the plot pivots around the death of the character he plays.

In Atanu Mukherjee’s film, Divakar (Bajpayee) is killed in an accident soon after scenes with a gloomy meal with his wife Nandini (Smita Tambe) and a game of chess with his senile father. His son Dhruv (Adarsh Gourav), sent away to boarding school after an incident of violence, comes to perform the last rites.

He realizes there were many things he did not know, perhaps because his parents wanted to shield him. Why is his mother living in her mother’s house and not their own home? Why does his father’s friend and business partner Robin (Kumud Mishra) get such a cold reception from his mother? What’s with all the shiftiness in the eyes of his father’s colleagues? Who is following him in a black car?

He sets out to investigate his father’s death, not convinced by the accident conclusion of the police. The script unravels the mystery in stages, though it’s not tough to guess what happened. However, in trying to keep the narrative realistically low key, Mukherjee makes it too slow and rambling. Why Robin and Divakar fell out and why the CBI is on their backs is also not too convincing. Shot at locations like a factory, slum, chawl and warehouse, there is something different about the way the city is captured, but it does not add much value to the film.

Gourav is on screen most of the time and his permanent sullenness is an irritant. Ultimately, the film does not make Dhruv’s understanding of adult behaviour or his coming of age matter. There is obviously no entertainment in this too-arty film, there is no other takeaway either.

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