S Shyam Prasad
What does an U certificate tell you about a movie? Probably that it did not shake up the government officials at the Central Board of Film Certification enough. That those sarkari-types may have even liked the film even though the story is about institutional corruption in a government office?
The first new film to release with, without, in spite of Corona is this hostage drama. The trailer showed us a lovely glimpse of what to expect. But it did not reveal the suspense of whether this was a hostage drama or a hostage thriller. I wanted a hostage thriller, bloodier the better. What I enjoyed earlier tonight in a premier show was a hostage drama. No complaints however on what Mansore has come up with.
Let me recall what we understood from the trailer without having to reveal anything more from the story. A pregnant lady and an old man take a government office hostage. A farmer somewhere has committed suicide believing government compensation would be paid to his family. There are loads and loads of characters and police and commandos and possibility of an explosive climax.
That’s pretty much the base on which the narrative is built, the details designed and the drama played out. The profiles of quite a few characters are actually worked out and revealed. (The characters played by Raghu Shivamogga, B Suresha and others for example). This adds a great amount of details to the movie. The story writer tries hard not to allow any loose-ends creep in and is successful.
A couple of money shots (action) would have made this a hostage thriller. That was what I was expecting at the interval. Nishkarsha never left my mind. What you lose in bloodsport is tried to me made-up in characterisation and character-heavy narrative. Since most of the characters are fleshed out, it serves the purpose. Quite a few actors get their scene-of-fame and not one misses to perform.
Tying up loose ends does not always cover-up the loopholes. Trying to stay loyal to a storyline with a deadline, the vagaries of politics and the conservativeness of legal proceedings are give a royal goodbye. In some places, the attention to detail is also missing like where the bomb disposal guys, fully dressed for duty, act like attendants. The English subtitles and its usage in the film could also have been given more attention. No, this is not a hijack drama.
One reason to watch this film is that it has released in theatres. The immersive experience is worth it. Act 1978 won’t let you check your phone. Despite the obvious lack of choices, this film would rank high among films you would have wanted to watch in theatres in 2020. Enjoyable, likeable, recommendable.
Film: Act 1978 Director: ManSoRe Duration: 129 minutes Certificate: U