Review - Contract: Terrorism is a bystander
In broad terms, it's a 'been there seen that' underworld movie. The regular Ram Gopal Varma style of covering gangsters and their lives. But it has a certain rugged feel about it and the sub-plots and side characters are fresh which can make a good DVD watch.
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The "Underworld meets terrorism" tagline clearly seems like a marketing ploy to get the initial crowds into the theater. Because Contract has as much to do with terrorism as say, RGV ki Aag has to do with Sholay. (I promise this is the last time I mention RGV ki aag when I review a RGV product!) Having said that, if you're game for another vengeance-ridden protagonist who has a "shoot at sight" order from the director, this one is it. The story is fairly well-written and the characters are border-line caricatures but non-standard enough to grab your attention.
First things first, as usual, I couldn’t handle the random "see my nostril hair" super-tight close-ups. My complaint like always, is more against the randomness than with the actual close-ups. I must say though, that there are some scenes which could have easily used the standard over-the-shoulder editing, but instead, close-ups or mid-shots were interspersed with shots of both characters in the same frame. I'm not saying this is path-breaking, just saying it’s a breath of fresh air from the extensive "blackhead coverage".
Of all the departments of film-making, in Contract, the casting fascinated me the most. Many movies make me wonder about some of the decisions. What went through the writer's head? What was the interaction between the cinematographer and the director in this shot? Contractmade me very, very curious about the casting process. What must have the auditions been like? How did they pick the actor to absolutely suit the character? So many of them, new faces and none of them looked out of place.
Now, the importance of the character in the whole scheme of things can be debated, but the actors were chosen well and almost each one did justice to the role given to them. Some of the characters were over-ridden by stereotypes set apart for them. For example, the main lead played by Adhvik Mahajan (Aman) had to have a wooden, sullen look just because no one thought of another way of portraying a peace-loving guy who has been hardened by the vagaries of life. Not to mention Adhvik's voice which is a complete turn down.
For instance, Prasad Purandhare looked sinister in his opening shots as the cop trying to convince Aman into joining his ploy to get to the terrorists. So much so that I wouldn't have been surprised if he was behind the havoc in Aman's life in the first place. The very sight of loud characters get my nerves crawling up my skin. So, I think it’s a huge compliment when I manage to not only tolerate them through the movie, but in fact enjoy their company for the first couple of times they are on screen.
While credit does go to Upendra Limaye and Amruta Subhash who played the loud Goonga and his louder wife, it is equally shared by the way the characters are written and the things they are made to do even though they are not the focus of the camera.
There is a certain rawness about the way things are handled in writing the sub-plots too. I'm sure you have always wondered why the protagonist, who is out to kill the villain, chatted him up first? You'll know why when you watch Contract. Because any other way and it looks too easy to be true. But, they deserve points for trying something different.
While they let us see on screen is gritty when it needs to be, what we don't see but is implied has an effect on your nerves too. Then it maybe, the image of a wife-beater you create in your head or how you are blind to the visuals when the twist in the lyrics of an innocent rhyme, 'twinkle twinkle', hits you. The latter works more so because it is a child's voice has been used.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about creativity in the writing of the broader plot. It is a decent watch but ultimately there's nothing new in the story. Ram Gopal Varma on his blog mentions,
Somebody asked me if Contract is a trilogy. I wouldn’t say that, because trilogy sounds more like a finale and my intent is to make a hundredology of gangster films.
I guess that's why, he's just touched upon the terrorism angle that's claimed to pervade into the underworld. After all there are 97 movies to go, what's the rush?
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Loads and loads. When its shown its gruesome, when its not shown, but you only know it has happened it is shuddering.
- Sexual content: One item number, but that's more or less it.
- Concept: A gangster movie with a darkish tinge in the concept.
- General Look and Feel: The visuals have a very rugged, grainy feel to it.
Contract - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Ace Movie Company, PVR Pictures
- Producer: Praveen Nischol, Sanjeev Bijli, Ajay Bijli
- Director: Ram Gopal Varma
- Lead Cast: Adhvik Mahajan, Sakshi Gulati, Amrita Khanvilkar, Prasad Purndhare
- Supporting Cast: Zakir Hussain, Sumeet Nijhawan, Ziyah Vastani, Raju Satyam
- Story: Prashant Pandey
- Screenplay: Prashant Pandey
- Cinematography: Aseem Mishra, Aseem Mishra
- Editor: Amit Parmar, Nipun Ashok Gupta
- Background Score: Amar Mohile
- Action Choreography: Allan Ameen
- Music Director: Amar Mohile, Sanaa, Tutul, Bapi
- Lyrics: Prashant Pandey, Mehboob
- Art Direction: Khyatee Kanchan
- Running time: 120 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Crime, Terrorism