January 16 2018
‘Rukh’ review: a meandering and monotonous feature film
27 October 2017

A deliberate air of suspense and profundity permeates the film but it doesn’t go beyond the obvious and the facile

Even at 106 minutes Rukh feels way too long. What could have been a razor sharp and astute short film with a proverbial twist in the tail loses its focus by becoming a meandering and monotonous feature film, one that gets way too explicatory, neatly tying up all the loose ends, seeking definite closures than letting any amount of intrigue linger on. Instead of coasting along on a tingling dramatic tension Rukh plays out flat and pat.

  • Director: Atanu Mukherjee
  • Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Smita Tambe, Adarsh Gaurav, Kumud Mishra
  • Storyline: Dhruv returns home from boarding school on learning about his father’s death in a car accident, and finds himself involved in digging out the truth behind the tragedy

Yes, a deliberate and calculated air of suspense, doom and profundity is made to permeate the narrative, especially at the start, but it doesn’t cut deep enough. The obviousness, triteness and superficiality reveal themselves thick and fast. Dhruv (Adarsh Gaurav) returns home from boarding school on learning of his father, Diwakar’s (Manoj Bajpayee) death in a car accident and finds himself getting involved in digging out the truth behind the tragedy even as a mysterious black car with an enigmatic fellow keeps following him around. As it eventually turns out, the little consciously placed revelations don’t quite add up to much and the mystery is not that enormous; more of a whimper than a bang.

Looking beyond the element of suspense itself, the film could have been an interesting study of a family, and a young man specifically, coming to terms with the sense of loss and learning to deal with grief. Unfortunately, that remains half baked. An embattled father trying to “set everything right” and his raging, violent son, desperately fighting his own inner demons—the twosome and their relationship could have added to the forceful, compelling on-screen father-son pairs. Unfortunately not.

Yet again, the film could have been an interesting take on money laundering, rabid profiteering and rampant corruption in small businesses but even there it prefers to remain facile. Unless you read a deeper meaning into the pre-demonetisation Rs 1000 notes on display, clearly indicative of the timeline of the financial crime.

In the name of introspection, understatement and subtlety the performances don’t rise beyond the straight, the blank and the deadpan. This, despite an ace bunch of performers. Only Smita Tambe as Dhruv’s mother Nandini makes for a fluid presence. Rukh is too wilfully hemmed in and held back for its own good.



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