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quick review:

The business and underworld of the Indian police department is showcased with style and great performances. But it still feels same-ol' same-ol', just the jobs of the people doing it is the same.

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Director: Kabeer Kaushik
Running time: 105 minutes
Genres: Crime, Politics, Social
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Maximum is depressing. It looks like a play between two policemen who are neither at the top of the department nor at the lowest ranks, so they do have a decent amount of power each. But indeed, there are many more, more important characters. Like the umpteen underworld films it is not a war between good and evil, or wrong and right. It is just human beings, each being their own shade of gray. That makes for perfect 'enjoyable story' material despite lack of relatable characters you can root for. Yet, once you get over the sadness that overwhelms you while you watch police officers do what goons do, only with more authority, you realize it is just one of those gang war films.

And that's the most depressing bit about Maximum. That a war between two policemen is nothing short of a gang war - thematically and morally. Of course, I'm not saying any of what is shown in the film comes as a shock. If there is goonism and business in politics; politics and goonism in business, why should it come as a surprise that there is goonism, business and politics within law enforcement. Yet, it made me uncomfortable when policemen shot goons down because the were the others' informers or when one had to pay another to save an informer. For this discomfort, for some good performances, for a good start, Maximum might be worth your while, if you were looking forward to it.

On the other hand, except for the first half hour or so, there is a lot of dramatization, lots of motifs and symbols thrown in your face and many such pitfalls that a director falls in, in trying to do all the cool things in one film. Maximum spreads itself thin even in terms of giving space to its characters. It is always a tough task to do justice to all the main characters even they are in small roles, especially when they are being played by such good actors. From Naseeruddin Shah and Sonu Sood to Dr. Mohan Agashe, Vinay Pathak to Rajendra Gupta, Neha Dhupia, Amit Sadh - each one make you believe in their character. Most of them make you feel for them at some small level, which is a lot for a film that is a 'goon' story at its heart.

Even though you cannot be satisfied with exposure given to most of their characters, you appreciate the attempt at giving them some depth. Which is why the lack of detail to Naseeruddin Shah's character, Inamdaar, seems unfair. While you know almost all there is to Sonu Sood's Pandit, there is very little you know of Inamdaar's background, character or motivations.

And despite these shortcomings, Maximum plays out well as an interesting story, especially in the beginning where the meat of the story lies. Close to interval, the pace drops and never picks up after that. The soporific background music and constant use of slow-motion doesn't help. Neither does the constant punctuation by item numbers under the guise of the policemen's dance bar visits. I also liked the symbolic survival of innocence, honesty(?) and loyalty.

Maximum felt like it had an interesting story to tell but got lost in its way amongst lots of intriguing characters and too many things to tell. A little prioritization might have allowed the writer and director to focus on what the story was about.

- meeta, a part of the audience

25 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 5 so-so 18 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Anna M.M.Vetticad , annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Maximum needed a more imaginative title. That single word does little to convey the quiet grimness of this violent-yet-mellow film that has stayed with me since I saw it. ... full review

Thumbs up, Buzz in Town : ...'Maximum' is a minimum-fuss crime drama where the characters are so austere in their emotions they somehow seem to be constantly shadow-dancing with their conscience.... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, MAXIMUM has an attention-grabbing premise, but lacks the meat in its screenplay to leave much of an impact. ... full review

So-So, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...For a film about two policemen practically competing against each other in notching up encounter kills, Maximum is too much conversation, and too little action... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...The film is too busy pushing up the body count to care about a conundrum that really counts. But all said and done, Maximum isn’t a washout – not by a long chalk. It is well crafted and superbly acte... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, Times of India : ...Maximum shows minimum originality thereby making it a plain average attempt... full review

So-So, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...Director Kabeer Kaushik, has a good force of actors here and a gripping premise, but he doesn't quite lead the way... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : uninteresting script lacking the much required pace, one majorly feels like being “Not Served” in the end while walking out of the theater.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ankur Pathak, Desi Martini : ...end its all a mumbo-jumbo of incessant gunfire where the person who gets shot the most is the audience.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mehul Suri, Desi Martini : ...Lame performances and an even lamer script held together by a clear lack of vision.... full review

Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...The story is predictable, the screenplay lacklustre and the characters undercooked... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...Understated treatment and tolerable length notwithstanding, Kabeer Kaushik's Maximum is an excruciating watch. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Garimella, : ...Maximum is one of those movies that try to be classy but lack the capability to. There's intention, there's a plot, and there's the big setup, but somehow, things don't come together the way the really good filmmakers make them.... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, : ...there are lots of loopholes in MAXIMUM. The intent was to make a slick cop caper. Sadly, nothing works, not even the item number.... full review

Thumbs down, by Roshni Devi, : ...Maximum just beats around the bush for a long time and is not really an enjoyable fair.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...There is little character delineation or growth. It’s all about being gritty and cool... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It’s all too grim and dull, and we don’t even get characters worth caring for.... full review

Thumbs down, by Vinayak Chakravorty, india today : ...Maximum fails to be the dirty cop saga it had promised to be. What we get instead is talk and more boring talk... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...'Maximum' turns out to be a dampener. Not because it doesn’t have interesting actors. Nor because it doesn’t have interesting situations. But because it comes off merely as 'Sehar' redux, minus its power.... full review

Thumbs down, by Udita Jhunjhunwala, Live Mint : ...The script is a mess, and the film depends more on stylized shots and plenty of posturing... full review

Thumbs down, Movie Talkies : ...Fans of Sonu Sood might enjoy the movie, but apart from that, Maximum really has nothing much to offer…... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now : ...Maximum has minimum entertainment and maximum mediocrity... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Maximum features good actors lazily reeling off lines that go nowhere... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...a film that comes in a decade too late. Avoidable. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Swati Rohatgi, STARDUST : ...While the actors try real hard to put together a good show, it’s the convoluted characters that end up making the film monotonous.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots and lots of gunfights and murders (encounters).
  • Language: A fair dose of profanity.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few dance bar sequences with suggestive dance steps and revealing clothing.
  • Concept: Policeman vs. policeman.
  • General Look and Feel: A lot of Bombay.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Maximum - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
DVD Label (India):
Running time:
105 minutes

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