Banner: Phantom films
Producers: Madhu Mantena, Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa
Writers: Amit Joshi, Hardik Mehta
Music: Alokananda Dasgupta
Trapped undoubtedly has the trappings of an inventive and frightening survival drama, and it grabs your attention in the beginning. Unfortunately, what could have been a nail-biting film throughout makes you a little restless with its sluggish pace as it moves towards the second half.
The film starts with a romantic story brewing between a rather shy Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) and his colleague Noorie (Geetanjali Thapa). Noorie is about to get married, obviously to someone else, and Shaurya is in a desperate situation to find a house, in just a day, so that he can marry Noorie instead. Modern-day love is oh-so practical!
Well, after a bit of establishing the characters, the film plonks a hapless Shaurya in an apartment in a highrise, where, as the trailer of the film had already conveyed, he gets trapped. The film shows just how a simple misstep can become a deadly and merciless force. The building is deserted, the watchman is a tad deaf, there’s no water supply, no power and Shaurya is left to rely on his spur-of-the-moment survival instincts to escape his predicament.
Some of these sequences are extremely witty and brilliantly written. Right from making a slingshot from the elastic of his undergarment to finding a way to store rain water, the film is laden with many brilliant and intense moments.
What really works in favour of Trapped is the naturalism in its script and just how ordinary the protagonist is. Director Vikramaditya Motwane uses every trick in the book to engage you with his limited resources, and makes you truly feel the plight of Shaurya. As a member of the audience, we are horrified, we are worried for him as we don’t know if anyone will ever find him. We sympathise with Shaurya and at times we want to whack him on his head for being absolutely stupid! We become a part of all of Shaurya’s survival attempts.
However, the director prolongs the film and, soon, you start to grow restless. Your mind even starts to wander, prompting you to even think of better escape routes. The fact is the film has a great concept and even succeeds in creating tension and terror. However, one only wishes it was shorter. Background score is very good.
With limited dialogue and a tight space, Trapped heavily relies on music and Rajkummar Rao’s performance. And he delivers – and how! Rao has put his heart and soul into the character. Whether his fear of rats; his moments of triumph when he thinks he has found a way out, to seconds later the terror on his face when he realises that he has almost set the house on fire; his anxiety, his grit, his joy when his love interest agrees to go for dinner with him; and his grief when he realises that he has lost her… Rajkummar Rao’s character has various layers and he excels in every frame. Geetanjali Thapa delivers a fine performance.