Director: Rajesh Pillai
Writer: Piyush Mishra (dialogue), Suresh Nair (adaptation), Bobby Sanjay (original story & screenplay)
Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Divya Dutta, Prasenjit Chatterjee
Runtime: 1h 44min
Released: 6 May 2016
Brief: An emotional thriller based on a road trip from Mumbai to Pune. Inspired from the real events that happened in Chennai.
Traffic is inspired by a real-life incident from 2008 in Tamil Nadu that was reported in the news media. The story of the Hindi film version, as far as can be told without spoilers, is this: A 12-year-old girl called Riya, daughter of filmstar Dev Kapoor (Prosenjit Chatterjee) and his wife Maya (Divya Dutta), is struggling for her life in Pune.
Review: The Hindi remake of a 2011 Malayalam film of the same name treads the same path : how soon can you clear mad traffic snarls to transport the beating heart of a brain-dead person to rescue a sinking patient? Will you be fast enough, beating rain, potholes, unforeseen road-bumps, and reach in time?
While I was engaged with the goings-on in the original, which borrows from ‘Amores Perros’ to craft multiple threads featuring multiple characters all converging on one point, I found myself tuning out in this one, because the crispness and the sense of urgency is missing.
Even if you haven’t seen the first, which spun off remakes in Tamil and Kannada, this one stutters. There is always going to be poignancy and heartbreak in the impending death of a young life. And Kitu Gidwani and Sachin Khedekar channel that emotion well : how can you switch off the machine that’s keeping your son alive? Suppose he comes out of the coma? They underplay, and are effective.
That decision is the hardest to take, and these parents do it to save another young life, finally succumbing to the pleas of another set of despairing parents ( Prosenjit Chatterjee and Divya Dutta). The task–to transport the heart, at breakneck speed, from Mumbai to Pune– is executed by a disgraced constable (Manoj Bajpayee), who is grateful for a chance to clear his name.
Also in the mix : a very shaky cardiac surgeon (Parambrata Chatterjee), the young man’s best friend (Amol Parashar), both of whom accompany the constable, a police chief (Jimmy Shergill) who greenlights the project after being lectured at by a doctor, and a bunch of others. They all do their job, but this enterprise, bloated by needless saccharine and background music, has its moments but stays, overall, strictly serviceable.