High rise buildings, we all know, can be a powder keg and hence a trap in one sense…But can one really be trapped inside it? This implausible thought is the premise of Trapped in which a regular guy Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) gets stuck inside a flat.
In a city teeming with millions this might seem highly unlikely. But the beauty of Vikramaditya Motwane’s improbable turn of events is that nothing about his flight of fancy seems impossible. In fact, it’s scary, precisely, for it could well happen to you, to me, to anyone of us. Motwane builds the plot without conundrum and with necessary momentum. The impending menace looms large from frame one even when the focus is on romance. Till the inevitable happens you have your heart in your mouth and can almost hear the palpitations of your own heart.
Indeed, once the expected is out there, there are the usual tropes necessary to accentuate the drama of survival tactics. Battery of mobile phone goes dead, no water, no electricity and no food… this middle class man could well be marooned on an island. You empathise with his predicament, you wince and can feel his frustration. And you almost throw up (just as he does) for what is it that the survival instinct, the mother of all instincts, won’t make you do.
Certainly, the film doesn’t keep you on the tenterhooks all the time and you know for sure he will get out of the trap. Yet, despite the fait accompli, Motwane takes you along and makes you oscillate between hope and despair. The feeling of dread that he creates is ominously real and the palpable tension is almost killing.
And lending life, heart and soul to the film stands Rajkummar Rao at the centre of it all. His transition from an ordinary man who is rattled by the sound of rat (is rat’s presence symbolic too) to one who has conquered his fears is complete. The last scene when he revisits his ‘prison’ establishes it even better.
In between Motwane throws some food for thought. The vegetarian-non-vegetarian debate however is merely skirting the surface. Indeed, all such holy stances to eat meat or not are clearly meaningless in times when one is pushed against the wall. There is more at play here and the story of Shaurya’s isolation and alienation stirs you. In mahanagari Mumbai which is spreading mindlessly, thanks to land sharks, is there space for a middle-class man and his love are questions that come to mind.
However, more than words like Motwane’s previous film Lootera, this one too lets silence speak. Rao’s incredibly mobile face and his equally evocative body language speak volumes. From frustration to indefatigable human spirit of endurance; it’s a 360 degree gamut of emotions where one line—Yahan nahi marna — says it all. But will the film speak to the last man standing?
Well, the storyline isn’t exactly highbrow...still the film is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you equate cinema with entertainment and judge it squarely on fun and frolic barometer, pay no heed to the star rating. However, if you are game for the craft of cinema and ready to decode some allegorical layering as well (how the city of dreams can be a nightmare) get ready for some entrapment. This interval-less film is one of its kind, in which Motwane lays the trap well and holds you captive.