Apurva Review: Road survival movies are a combination of suspense, crime, drama and action that will keep you on the edge of your seats. You can guess where the story is going, but the appeal lies in the journey and not the destination, i.e. how the filmmakers arrive at the resolution. In this regard, writer-director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat and director of photography Anshuman Mahaley have a winner on their hands. The duo have 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 abandoned location.
The setting 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 who are so feared that they can kill anyone at the drop of a hat. It begins when the driver of the bus the young woman is riding on refuses to let the culprits overtake him. As they loot the vehicle, she invites their wrath to try and get help. These criminals include Jugnu (Rajpal Yadav), who does not shy away from pulling the trigger or cracking skulls when enraged, Sukha (Abhishek Banerjee), Balli (Sumit Gulati) and Chhote (Aaditya Gupta), all as despicable as the other. And against them is a simple and delicate girl who is afraid for her life.
While the events give a horrifying insight into how despicable the criminals are, in a few instances one feels that the violence could have been dialed down a notch while still being effective. At times it feels a bit indulgent and stretched, though it does make Apurva’s fight that much more gruesome. The main character’s backstory provides a respite from the carnage, but a more compelling track would have lifted the overall narrative. But Ketan Sodha’s background score adds to the layer of drama here.
The genre also requires the actors to be at the top of their game, to pull off a spectrum of emotions and reactions convincingly. This is another intriguing aspect of the film. We have seen Rajpal Yadav in the funniest and coolest avatars, but this time he goes out of his way to be menacing and is quite a revelation. The actor will be joined by Abhishek Banerjee, who has been seen as a villain in the film Aaaaay and the psychotic Hathoda in Patal Lokbut he has also made a name for himself in comedy capers such as Street. Sumit Gulati and Aaditya Gupta also face these powerful talents. Last but not least is Tara Sutaria who impresses as an ordinary girl who takes on the monsters. She is excellent in every fight scene and does justice to her character arc.
If you’re looking for a film that thrills, shocks and takes your breath away, this one is definitely for you as it ticks all those boxes. Watch out for the ultimate showdown between Apurva and one of the antagonists!