Movie Review: Maximum
This police department politics story had the potential to become a gripping drama about morality and justice. But it stays indifferent and lacklustre
Dir Kabeer Kaushik
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Sonu Sood, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Amit Sadh
Wonder why this film is called Maximum? You go to watch the film with a certain set of expectations: many intense face-offs between its lead characters (Sonu Sood and Naseeruddin Shah), a taut drama about the delivery of justice, the corruption in the police department and lots of action. Instead, we have two trigger-happy cops, wanting to out-do each other’s encounter count in a barely-there plot, mouthing lukewarm dialogues and the inevitable blood-ridden conclusion.
Pandit Pratap Singh (Sonu Sood) is an upstart of an encounter specialist cop, on the wrong side of justice, wheeling and dealing with politicians, builders, informers and dance bar girls. For some reason not in the favour of justice, he’s trying to break a record for encounters in the city. On the side he is also trying to extort builders to give protection money to the police and romancing a starlet.
There’s another cop, Inamdar (Naseer), who’s also on the wrong side of justice and prides himself on his record of gangster killings, who is bitter about Pandit’s (who has been his junior and partner in crime) rise to success and is out to out-kill his old rival. There are also a couple of sly politicians mouthing philosophical dialogues while making mischief, and a gang of hangers-on by Pandit’s side and gangster with a remote control in Bangkok to complete the picture. Purportedly, on the side of justice is a television reporter (Amit Sadh) who, also for some inexplicable reason, keeps hob-nobbing with these people. Pandit’s boss sips chamomile tea, his father quotes Shakespeare in the rain and has a loving cotton-saree clad wife in minimal make-up.
It’s all there, even the item song, but where is the hero? As a director, Kabeer Kaushik hasn’t been able to create a hero. Naseer is barely around and one can very well see that his heart isn’t in the film. Amit Sadh is convincing as a newbie reporter while Pathak does the needful. Neha could have been good but anyone can see the lack of chemistry between her and Sood. Sonu, of course, does his best. He is intense and pulls off the protagonist with ease. But it is not his fault that one cannot empathise with him. This police department politics story had the potential to become a gripping drama about morality and justice. But it stays indifferent and lacklustre. It is detailed but not complex. It could have been called Moderate, not Maximum.