Film: Ek Chalis Ki Last Local
Director: Sanjay Kanduri
Cast: Abhay Deol, Neha Dhupia, Snehal Dabhi, Ashok Samarth, Vinay Apte, Virendra Saxena
Ever missed the last train and found yourself stranded? To add to your misery, there could also be a rickshaw strike and not another mode of transport in sight. As farfetched and improbable as it may sound, this is the premise of Ek Chalis Ki Last Local.
Nilesh (Abhay Deol), a call centre employee, is stranded, after he misses his train. Soon enough, he bumps into Madhu (Neha Dhupia) and both of them begin meandering on the streets of Mumbai; they seek refuge in a bar. At the bar, Nilesh bumps into his ‘chuddy buddy’ Patrick, who drags him along to gamble with Ponnappa. One thing leads to another and Ponnappa’s brother is killed. Soon enough, the chase begins and what follows is a series of unprecedented events to save their respective lives.
While the film, in its two and half hour run, is entertaining, the plot is similar to the 90s English flick Run. However, in spite of a few twists and alterations, ECKLL fails to be a longlasting joy ride. The first half wanders in futility, alternating between situations based on the time, but it is the second half with the chase that proves to be exciting.
This is one of those films which undoubtedly would make for a great read, as it allows the reader to use his imagination. On screen, however, it fails to be engaging. The unflattering dialogues and locales further hold back the film from being thoroughly engaging. The editing is fine, but not as slick as you would have expected such a film to be. The film lacks sheen and colour, each frame seems dull and dreary.
In a film that encompasses humour, thrill and drama within the environment of a rain struck Mumbai, the camerawork and lighting is unbecoming. The tilts, establishing shots and top shots seem forced and more often, unframed. Additionally, the music seems underutilised throughout the film and the little that is used, seems inconsequential to the way the story progresses.
The setback is in the excess of characters and minor storylines that are thrown in, to eventually relate to the larger plot. However, each actor stands out and each performs his or her part with a reasonable amount of sincerity. Deol, blessed with fantastic screen presence, delivers a winning performance. Dhupia on the other hand, seems lost and expressionless until the latter half of the film. Dabhi, Samarth and Saxena carry off their respective roles with great ease and confidence. However, it is Saxena’s accomplice who shines in the few minutes she is on screen.
Nonetheles, the two and half hours pass without much to crib or cry about. The manner in which each scene flows into another and the concept of moving back to where the story commences is entertaining and though done before, proves to be a well utilised style in this film. What makes this film a worthwhile watch is the stints of humour it is filled with.
The song ‘kya hua’ has everyone humming it, but the film’s box office fate is yet to be known. This film might just pick up initial business due to curiosity and a dearth of good releases. What will prove important for it is good word of mouth publicity.
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local is not one of those films you simply have to watch on the first day, but then you don’t want to miss it either. If you have nowhere to be or nothing to do, you’d rather make that trip to the theatre.