'The Terrorist' review: Ragini Dwivedi's low intensity thriller fails to engage

The writing feels very amateurish and loud.
'The Terrorist' review: Ragini Dwivedi's low intensity thriller fails to engage
'The Terrorist' review: Ragini Dwivedi's low intensity thriller fails to engage
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There have been countless films made on the issue of terrorism and terror attacks. The significant and major terror incidents have been presented on the silver screen either as docu-dramas or as fictionalized thrillers. However, the subject of terrorism has not been explored much in Kannada films.

Upendra had made a film Swasthik way back in 1998 which did not work well as it was considered far ahead of its time. However, unless there is something unique in the narrative, such films end up looking the same. 

PC Shekar has tried to intertwine the low-intensity bomb blasts that occurred in various parts of Bengaluru city during 2008, with the impact that this has on a family that tries to live a normal life. The uniqueness just lies in the thought but the treatment is very much similar to most of the commercial potboilers, with high style and less substance.

The story revolves around Reshma (Ragini Dwivedi) who is an executive in a star hotel. She gets entangled in the web of an unlawful act of terrorism masterminded by someone wicked and unknown. The film opens with the typical shot of a recorded video of a terrorist talking to the camera at an undisclosed location. This is being telecasted on national television. In parallel, there is a political rally amidst the busy streets of Bengaluru which has all the pomp and splendour, and prepares the audience to witness a bomb blast.

The narrative makes a time jump of two years and in the present, we see Reshma leading a good life with her sister, Asma, who happens to be a college student. After some initial sequences of establishing the bonding between the sisters, all hell breaks loose for Reshma when she gets a call from an anonymous caller. 

How she manages this situation forms the crux of the film. The plot could have made for a pacy and intelligent thriller but turns out to be very amateurish and loud. Many sequences look badly executed for a film on this theme. Specifically, the scenes involving the security check in the star hotel, the serious conversations between the police and the protagonist, as well as the conversations that occur between politicians and National Intelligence Agency [NIA] are very sloppy.

The twists and turns of the narrative are quite underwhelming, flawed with certain facts remaining unexplored and unanswered. Like many other films, this, too, ends with a message to the audience. Given the fact that this film has a time-bound plot, with one event triggering another to reach the climax, it feels like PC Shekar has underdelivered in terms of writing an engaging screenplay.

The film has Ragini Dwivedi in the centre with a big ensemble of supporting characters. It is been long since she had a hit and this film is expected to be her comeback. She does show the attitude required but it still feels like she overdid the role in most parts. The film projects her as a confused but thinking woman under pressure, manipulating people with her intelligence and foresight. However, the 'big star' style through which this is executed totally takes her away from the character she plays. It would have been memorable if she had been more understated.

The rest of the cast just pops up here and there and there is hardly anything that catches your attention or stays in your mind with regards to performance or characterisation. The production quality and cinematography that are necessary for a fast-paced thriller seem to be in place. The background score is apt during the first half and louder than required in the second.

A big disappointment comes from the dialogues. There's too much of uninteresting writing and preachy monologues. Many sequences can be conveyed just through actions. Still packing them with dialogues and background score has reduced the quality of the experience.

This is the seventh film by PC Shekar and probably the biggest budget one, costing over four crores. The films that he chooses to work on are novel but the writing and presentation do not fall in the right place. It is not just the visuals that matter at a time when the Kannada audience is hungry for content-oriented films. Just being different from the usual stereotypes does not qualify as content. A film should be really well scripted and executed to make a difference.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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