Day 4 – Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) looks around hungrily. With listless eyes, a weak body, and disheveled hair, he eyes the few crumbs in the biscuit packet. So does the rat, the one he’s afraid of. But with hunger beyond his control, it’s now a competition between him and the rat. Eye-to-eye. The one who dares to blink first is the one who loses. The background noise is as gripping as the staring match between the two.
It’s not everyday you have an audience so invested in a movie that even the slightest disturbance results in everybody shushing you.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped is Charles Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ theory set in a high-rise Mumbai apartment. You needn’t be stranded in an island or a jungle to learn how to survive. Sometimes, even with all the technology by your side, you can be struggling to stay alive even within the confines of your own apartment. And if you don’t adapt, you don’t survive – the rules are simple.
Flats in Mumbai are notorious for their exorbitant rent, with many sharing a small apartment for exorbitant sums. Consumed by the whole house-hunting process, Shaurya finds a man who’s agreed to let him occupy an apartment on the 35th floor in Prabhadevi area, one of the most posh and expensive area in the city. It’s a decent apartment, with a huge balcony and a terrific view. The abandoned apartment complex might have been cause for concern, but the offer is too tempting to let go.
This is where Motwane gives us a taste of the desperation of the average salaried youngster in Mumbai – the desperation for a better apartment, a lower rent, an area closer to office. It isn’t a lot to ask for, but in Mumbai, those dreams sound like a fairytale.
Getting an unbelievable deal was part of Shaurya’s plans. Getting trapped in the apartment wasn’t.
It’s not something anyone would expect in their wildest dreams. In theory, thinking of options to escape is easy, but when even technology abandons you, a wave of panic sets in. And in those anxious, fear-riddled moments, it’s us, the audience, on tenterhooks the entire time. Eyes on Shaurya, eyes on the rat, eyes on the gap between the ground and the 35th floor, eyes on that door which refuses to open.
Motwane’s story is not just about the trapped man and what he goes through to survive; it’s also about how a filmmaker successfully hooks his audience into looking at the simplest, most banal things in life with a whole new perspective. When even the simplest of food craving turns into a luxurious whim.
And Motwane does all of this with hardly any of the dialogues or punchlines most Hindi films come with. If there’s one other thing Motwane proves, it’s that he doesn’t need to stick to one kind of genre. He’s earned the title ‘versatile’.
The protagonist, Rajkummar Rao, is undoubtedly in his element. Driven by his method acting and convincing body language, Rao as Shaurya plays the vulnerable trapped man with such brilliance, it almost looks like he’s forgotten about the camera. The smallest twitch on his face, the minute detail in the way he approaches his escape; there’s so much Rao does in these everyday-seeming moments. You root for him and his character from the beginning till the end, and he never leaves you disappointed.
The frequent applause by the audience during his most intense scenes says a lot about this underrated actor.
And when isn’t Rao’s performance or Motwane’s, it’s the background sounds that are riveting. It’s the collective beats of Shaurya tapping the saucepan on the walls, hammering the door with his foot, and trying to break the metallic grills with a pedestal fan’s blade. The music fits in perfectly with the film’s narrative, upping the tempo whenever required. Not flashy or overpowering, but subtle enough to have it ring in the audience’s ears long after they’ve left the theatre.
Reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ Castaway, Trapped gives us a regular everyday guy as the hero who longs to pursue the simple things in life, who doesn’t dream of the finer things in life because he’s too rooted to reality. In an era ruled by big-budget films with inane stories thrown in, Trapped comes as a gift. A horror-less psychological thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout, the film is beyond what anyone could have prepared for, even those who had seen the trailer.
The Trapped review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.