‘Four Pillars Of Basement:’ Intolerable

There’s a huge basement parking lot with scores of pillars. The film is copied almost frame to frame from a 2007 Hollywood psycho thriller, P2. The prime reason to copy P2 would seem to be that the events in the film take place entirely in a basement parking lot which, coupled with nil face value, makes this adventure cheap as well as easy to undertake.

While lifting a foreign film may not need much imagination, adapting it into a local language for the local audience certainly does require some creativity. But from the title onwards, there is no evidence of either imagination or knowhow of filmmaking in the film’s 116 minute run. 

It is Diwali night and Aliya Singh is working till late in her clerical job which, it would seem, is full of tharkees. A petty colleague is hitting on her by reciting shayaris while her boss wants to go the whole hog as he leers at her and even tries to molest her on a staircase landing. Aliya’s troubles have just started. As she tries to drive out of the basement parking, her car gets a flat tyre. She tries to seek the help of a guard but the regular one is missing. 

Aliya sees some hope as another guard, Dilzan Wadia, offers to help her. Dilzan pretends to help her but she soon realises that it is not so. Dilzan in fact is her silent lover and has been stalking her for four years without her getting any hint. He is madly in love with her and has actually trapped her to convince her to marry him! 

Dilzan drugs her and when she comes to, her clothes have been removed leaving her wearing only a pink slip so that she can do rest of her running around with ample show of cleavage. 

The sweet talking Dilzan soon turns violent when he fails to convince Aliya. He has already killed the other guard. He proceeds to kill her boss who tried to molest her. Also in the line is the office shayar. As Aliya does running around trying to find a way out of the building, all exits are locked by Dilzan. She tries to contact her finance, Shawar Ali, and brother. The basement may be locked from all sides but both manage to get in and bash up Dilzan who turns the tables soon and kills them both. 

Aliya also manages to get through to cops, three of whom arrive and leave after a cursory check and asking Dilzan’s wellbeing! Dilzan has a companion in a mentally unstable man who keeps making ugly faces till Dilzan lets him loose on Aliya (in the original it was a dog). It is time for a showdown between Aliya and Dilzan as she finally decides to show her naarishakti

While Four Pillars Of Basement makes a mess of the original (which was a failure commercially), there was no need to stretch it to 116 minutes when the original was 98 minute duration! Direction is shoddy. So are the film’s other aspects. Dilzan and Aliya lack presence not to mention acting abilities.

Four Pillars Of Basement is intolerable. 

Producers: Gautam Bafna, Pravin Chudasama

Director: Giresh Naik

Cast: Dilzan Wadia, Aliya Singh, Shawar Ali, Anant Jog, Zakir Hussain, Shiva

‘Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein:’ Heavy on head

Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein is about drugs, Charlie being the slang name for cocaine. 

Naseeruddin Shah is a cop investigating a murder case, which has links to drugs. Shah comes across evidence about a bunch of youngsters, Amit Sial, Anand Tiwari, Subrat Dutta, Manasi Rachh, Disha Arora, in a den with graffiti all around and bodies lying on floors. The bunch is at loggerheads.

A big consignment of “charlie” goes missing and the underworld goons want it back along with guys who hijacked it. The mobsters are targeting the young lot as Shah sets out to solve the mystery. Shah has found the crime being committed in the footage that he has come across but a lot of the film is about the perception: is what is seen in the footage true or not? 

The film makes quick jumps between sequences and characters and becomes confusing in the bargain. Twists and turns are convoluted and try the viewer’s patience. The director could have made it into an easy-going crime thriller instead of complicating it so much. 

The film has a couple of songs, which are utterly forgettable. Editing could have been crisper. Cinematography is good.

Shah acts out his stock expressions and mannerisms. The young actors are okay with no real challenge in their characters. 

Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein neither thrills nor entertains.

Producers: Karan Arora

Director: Manish Srivastava

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Amit Sial, Anand Tiwari, Subrat Dutta, Manasi Rachh, Disha Arora, Auroshikha Dey, Siraj Mustafa

‘Ranbanka:’ Bunkum

Ranbanka is about a simple family man who is deputed to Mathura where he falls victim to a local bahubali, who borders on lunacy and derives power from his brother’s status as a local politician. In short, this is yet another film about a Hindi belt goon who terrorises people and the police happens to be on his side.

The film is based on Hollywood film, Straw Dogs (1971; remade in 2011).

Ravi Kishen is the Mathura strongman hanging out with a few of his goons. Like all politicians’ kin he seeks government contracts by bribing officials. If the official fails to deliver, he is in for some humiliation. 

Manish Paul, an engineer, has been deputed to Mathura for a period of six months to handle a project. Even as he is entering the city, he sees a mob gathered around some incident. He wants to alight from the car and check out. However, his driver warns him against getting involved since whoever is down there is a victim of Ravi and nobody dares raise a voice against him for the consequences could be deadly. 

Manish settles into the house provided to him with his wife, Pooja Thakur, and a six year old son. It may be a new city for her but Pooja likes to shop and roam around. During one of her outings, when Pooja is trying out some outfits in a store trial room without locking it from inside, Ravi is there too to buy denim and unknowingly walks into the same trial room. Pooja is in her bare minimums and it is lust at first sight for Ravi. Of course, he convinces himself it is love.

Pooja soon becomes an obsession for Ravi who wants her to marry him no matter that she is already married and the mother of a six year old, a fact she mentions to Ravi. Ravi suggests an easy way out: he would kill the child as well as her husband. The family is terrorised. The police won’t help either. Manish tries to leave the town but is blocked by Ravi’s goons. Ravi’s politician brother is a decent man who tries to help but pays with his life instead. 

Ravi gets more desperate and ends up killing Manish and Pooja’s son. Again, the couple’s efforts to leave fail. Manish feels trapped and helpless. That is when Pooja humiliates him and prods him to go out and kill Ravi or die in the process. Manish starts the process by killing Ravi’s men one after another. Like old-fashioned film heroes, Manish likes to get clobbered till half dead before he retaliates, which just stretches the inevitable. 

The film is clichéd and treated like a 1960s small town background film. The script has no twists and turns and is totally predictable. The director adheres to mundane script. Music has one of each like old days: Holi song, an item song, a romantic one and so on. The film is merely 98 minutes long but, yet, full of flashbacks and montages. Manish does well despite limited scope. Ravi looks sinister enough. Pooja is passable. 

The films about UP or Bihar bahubalis are not exciting at all and this is not the era when one can say the film is made for Hindi belt or, say, single screens. It is a no go for Ranbanka

Producers: Ajay Yadav, Dasrath Singh Rathore, Suman Shukla

Director: Aryeman Ramsay

Cast: Manish Paul, Ravi Kishen, Pooja Thankur, Rudra Kaushish, Pooja Kasekar, Anita Sahgal, Avya Agarwal, Poonam Chopra, Navi Bhangu

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