Its 2003 – a time when encounter killings were at their peak and clashes between the police and the underworld were recorded as encounters in Mumbai.
Director Kabeer Kaushik revisits the world of the khaki uniform and sets his incomprehensible film within the Mumbai police force. He examines collusions between the police, media and politicians, but with clumsiness.
Two rival cops are in a battle to notch up the greatest number of killings in the war against the underworld. One is Pratap Pandit, played with affectation by Sonu Sood. The other is Arun Inaamdar, played as best as he could by Naseeruddin Shah, in a role that has no character build-up. In fact, throughout ‘Maximum’ you keep asking what the hell is going on and why? And since both these cops are corrupt and ruthless, as a viewer you never really care what happens to either of them, especially not Sood whose faltering dialogue delivery and stoic stares are simply overdone.
What one could discern of the plot is that there is something to do with a builder or two, power play at the senior police level, an ambitious, seemingly sympathetic politician and a zealous but smart TV journalist.
Eventually the narrative moves ahead five years, when the gun shots have been silenced for a while until the 26/11/2008 attacks on Mumbai. Against this backdrop, Pandit and Inaamdar’s animosity continues to play out. To add insult to injury you have to tolerate Neha Dhupia trying to pull off the dutiful wife in cotton saris and bindis, a random two scenes with a movie star played by Anjana Sukhani, Arya Babbar trying to convince us that he is a suave businessman and a terrible item number. The most sincere performances come from Amit Sadh as the rising star in a news channel and Vinay Pathak as the politician.
Director Kaushik does not show the technical growth one would have expected from his fourth film (Sehar, Chamku, Hum Tum Aur Ghost). The film is massively weighed down by a terrible script (Kaushik, Rakhi Soman), the editing, music and Sood as a lead actor who fails to ignite any emotion in the audience – besides despair.