‘Apurva’ : Hostage Drama that Thrills, Shocks and Impresses

By Dhaval Roy

story: A young woman en route to Agra from Gwalior is taken hostage by four dreaded criminals. This is the story of her fight to survive.

Apurva review: Road survival movies are a combination of thrill, crime, drama, and action, keeping you on the edge of your seats. One can guess where the story is headed, but the appeal lies in the journey and not the destination, that is, how the filmmakers will arrive at the resolution. In this regard, writer-director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat and Director of Photography Anshuman Mahaley have a winner at hand. The duo has created a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seats and gasping at every turn. This is further enhanced by the film’s treatment and derelict location.

The set-up is the ruins of a deserted village in Madhya Pradesh, where you can disappear without a trace with no sign of life in sight. Apurva (Tara Sutaria) is held hostage here by a group of four bandits so dreaded they can kill someone at the drop of a hat. It begins when the driver of the bus the young woman is on refuses to let the culprits overtake him. As they plunder the vehicle, she invites their anger for trying to get help. These criminals include Jugnu (Rajpal Yadav), who doesn’t flinch from pulling the trigger or breaking skulls when enraged, Sukha (Abhishek Banerjee), Balli (Sumit Gulati), and Chhote (Aaditya Gupta), all as abominable as the other. And against them is a simple and delicate girl scared for her life.

While the events give a frightful glimpse of how abhorrent the criminals are, in a few instances, one feels the violence could have been dialled down a notch while still being impactful. Occasionally, it feels a tad overindulgent and stretched, although that makes Apurva’s fight that much grittier. The protagonist’s backstory brings some respite from the bloodbath, but a more compelling track would have elevated the overall narrative. However, Ketan Sodha’s background score adds to the layer of drama here.

The genre also demands the actors to be on the top of their game, to pull off a gamut of emotions and reactions convincingly. This is another winsome aspect of the movie. We have seen Rajpal Yadav in the funniest and goofiest avatars, but this time, he pulls all the stops in being menacing, and is quite a revelation. The actor is joined by Abhishek Banerjee, whom one has seen as a baddie in Aaji and the psychotic Hathoda in Patal Lok, but he has also made a name for himself in comedy capers such as Stree. Sumit Gulati and Aaditya Gupta also stand their might against these powerhouse of talent. Last but not least is Tara Sutaria, who impresses as an ordinary girl taking on the monsters. She is outstanding in every scene of struggle, and does justice to her character arc.

If you are looking for a movie that thrills, shocks, and makes you hold your breath, this one’s definitely for you as it ticks all these boxes. Watch out for the ultimate face-off between Apurva and one of the antagonists! — Times of India