Traffic is not your regular Bollywood mish-mash put together. It is another kind of mish-mash, the kind that symbolises road traffic typical of any Indian metropolis, maybe? It manages to scrape through as a reasonable thriller, even if it is predictable. A donated organ needs to cross 160 kilometers in just 2.5 hours. Interestingly enough, it is not the predictability that takes the film down, it is the pace and laughable moments of drama created.
The drama is hardly necessary. Although arguably, any drama at all can be avoided, in this particular case, the plot is interesting enough to pull the movie through. It didn't need any external assistance. In fact, the drama comes in the way of you getting on the edge of your seat.
This in turn ends up lengthening the film. At a good 15 minutes less than 2 hours, Traffic isn't a long film and even so feels elongated beyond what could have kept it thrilling. Individual scenes elongate. “Reveals” are over-explained.
Despite a low budget, no frills show, there are a few scenes that are done really well. Then there are the obvious product placements and lapses like mobile phones that work in rain that serve as distractions too.
However, the two things that hold Traffic together are the basic plot and the commentary it tries to engage its audience in. The performances aren't particularly bad, but they seem rather superficial even though every one cries really well. They manage to bring a lump in the throat. Of course, actors like Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai, Sachin Khedekar, Kitu Gidwani, Vikram Gokhale and Jimmy Sheirgill try to infuse as much energy as is possible in the lacklustre dialogue. However, this brings the performances all together only to a not-bad-not-great level.
The general comment on social fabric though is what keeps you engaged. Much like a web Traffic touches on the taboo that being involved with a widow is to dowry to wide prevalence of extra-marital affairs to the corruption and need thereof in the system to value and power of VIPs. I especially liked the little things like the clamor of media and general public oblivious to the urgency of the situation and a character not wearing a seat belt despite of the various road accidents they've seen so far and the precarious situation he is in currently. That's just how we are.
All of the above is done without getting in your face – just a part of the story. In fact, leaving enough room to make you wonder about things going on in the film vis-à-vis real life. What if it were not a VIP situation, would it have worked out? Of course, it just might have, there is no reason to go cynical, but it does cross your mind - this when there were VIPs involved, what if it were a common man? It makes you think about the things - What would have to be at stake for you to take unimaginable, selfless risks? On the other hand, is it because you feel you have nothing left too lose? I should point out here though that the intensity of the traffic problem is only in words here. You barely see any major trouble being caused by it.
However, does the situation - yours, society's - resemble that of the dense web of road traffic?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...Despite it's minor flaws Traffic is a film that deserves attention and an audience. It's a fantastic story of human spirit. It should be able to inspire every individual to think and find the heart to help out others in times of need. It's just the sort of film that makes the world seem like a better place. It's a must watch for sure. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...This is a film that subtly spreads the message of organ donation while providing for emotionally high-strung entertainment. It’s both classy and special! Share this Post: ... full review
Thumbs up, by Josh, fullhyd.com : ...As we go through our humdrum living getting accustomed to regularity and blind to the unfamiliar, a story like Traffic gives us a reason to reflect on this extraordinary world that we live in. That is perhaps worth the dough you shell out at the box-office. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...Traffic does not preach or boast but it touches hearts. Watch it for the emotional connect, and of course, the wonderful performances. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Hindi movie fans have clearly lucked out. Only four months into 2016, they have already been treated to three amazing true stories brought to the big screen with elan. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The film's tells the story in a straightforward, simple manner. The execution is not sharp and technically impressive. The acting is superb by the veterans, but shaky by the younger crowd. Still, the film is worth a watch for the extraordinary story. A story that actually encompasses the scope of human kindness. And the fact that the film is inspired by true events makes it that much special! ... full review
So-So, by Anna MM Vetticadn, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...If you have known the death of a loved one, you will understand how excruciatingly hard it is to let go. The only thing worse than the anticipation and fear of loss is loss itself. The feel of cold, lifeless flesh that will never be warm again is like a knife through the heart. Drama is intrinsic to these situations and to the larger, multi-cultural Indian reality, without the crutch of high-decibel songs or explicit moralising. If Team Traffic had understood that, this could have been a great film. As things stand, it is an uneven, unsatisfying ride. ... full review
So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Summing up, this is certainly an opportunity lost wasting a highly potential plot in a film that is not going to impress the Hindi film viewers for sure. Hence with a heavy heart, I would once again request to go for the original Malayalam version instead and have a great evening together with the family raising a valid question that, ... full review
So-So, by Mehul S Thakkar, Deccan Chronicle : ...The film will keep you engaged with its brilliant execution by late director Rajesh Pillai and remarkable performances by the ensemble. Also to be noted is Sachin Khedekar performance as a father who goes through a personal loss. He plays his part really well. Divya Dutta as a wife of a superstar has a lot of teary eyed scenes which she manages to pull it off quite well. The climax is the high point which gets your attention back to the film. Giving away the details of it may be a spoiler but those scenes have great background music and it has been shot in a sleek manner. ... full review
So-So, by Yatharth Chauhan , Desi Martini : ...Traffic seems to have fallen victim to some of its own shortcomings. It’s like you’re out on the highway enjoying a swift ride, but a flat tyre weighs it all down! ... full review
So-So, by Krish Sripada, Desi Martini : ... merely watching the movie go ahead at a breakneck speed for a major part ensures you have a decent experience. A script with better finesse, some good dialogues and a little less drag towards the later half could have turned into a really good movie.... full review
So-So, by Bryan Durham, DNA : ...The film has its heart in the right place, but the soul isn't along for the trip. The film had the potential to do much, much better, but gets stuck, ironically, in the traffic of its own making. ... full review
Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...While the film's music (Mithoon) is average, it's the film's background score (Nitin Ketke) that is impressive. The film's cinematography (Santhosh Thundiyil, Anil Lal) is decent. The film's editing (Nishant Radhakrishnan, Mahesh Narayanan) could have been tighter, especially in the film's first half. On the whole, TRAFFIC will appeal to very limited audiences and will have a tough run at the box-office.... full review
Thumbs down, by Divya Pal, IBN Live : ...Even though Manoj Bajpayee doesn’t get a huge screen time, he leaves an impact as a Mumbai traffic police constable. While his zeal to complete the mission needs to be lauded, his performance in the film isn’t as incredible as his film ‘Aligarh’. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...But Traffic does raise pertinent questions. Why a police car is taken instead of an ambulance? Why is the police force so bad at tracking its own vehicle? Why do we have such poor connectivity? But more realistically would all this effort be taken if the patient in need of a transplant wasn't from as privileged a background? ... full review
Thumbs down, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Also, the film seems to send across a message that the administration and the government machinery will accommodate someone only if he is a superstar or some equally powerful individual, which derives the film of an underdog charm, something that might have lent a 'feel good' factor to the film. In conclusion, watching Traffic is slightly less boring than being stuck in traffic!... full review
Thumbs down, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...A remake of the 2011 Malayalam hit of the same name, this one fails to channel the same energy as a lot is lost in translation. The marketers of Traffic broke the film's trailer just after Aligarh shot to indie fame and Bajpayee was coronated as the flagbearer of the genre. But just like Revolver Rani couldn't piggyback on Queen, this one can't cash in on brand Bajpayee. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Traffic doesn’t address its ethics or anything profound. It doesn’t aspire to be anything beyond a bumpy ride to half-hearted glory. And in that it is entirely successful. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...What the film does have are some wonderful actors in the ensemble whose easy performances hold the fractured narrative together. Kitu Gidwani and Sachin Khedekar as the unfortunate parents and Vikram Gokhale as the hospital dean add dignity and gravitas to their characters but their roles seem unformed as do their stories. It’s the same with traffic head Jimmy Shergill. Only Manoj Bajpai’s constable Godbole has layers and nuances and he makes him a compelling watch. Ultimately Traffic wears thin, feels rushed. There is neither much of an emotional tug nor an edge-of-the-seat urgency that the film promised to deliver. ... full review
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