When a politician conspires to start riots in Mumbai, a journalist gets a whiff of it and the resulting article sets of a chain of events.
'Calling someone a politician itself has become an abuse', says Shyam Jagdale (Khedekar), while interacting with the corrupt politician Vikas Patil (Soman). The line reflects the common man's perception of politicians today and is nicely incorporated in the film.
Apart from being the economic capital of the country, Mumbai is also a hotbed of political activity. But when the power of money and authority over the administration come together, it is absolute corruption; something that the film repeatedly throws light upon. So there is Vikas Patil, a politician who wants to brings about riots, blame them on the minority community and offer support to the minority to gain their sympathy and votes in the upcoming elections. He approaches a retired politician Nana Chitnis (Shriram Lagoo), who has some expertise in the area but refuses to help as his conscience doesn't allow him to repeat something like that. The news of this secret meeting reaches Jagdale, a fearless journalist who reports the same through his paper. The article makes people in power uneasy and pressure builds up on the publisher. Ultimately, Jagdale is asked to take it easy but being the principled guy he is, Jagdale continues his fight and in the process, unearths information that shakes him to the core.
Nagrik is a very technically sound film; the photography, sound mixing and editing, all are fantastic. The irony of many situations has been beautifully captured in the film and so has everything that goes
on in Mumbai's belly
. It exposes corrupt builders helping corrupt politicians and vice-versa, the plight of poor villagers lured to the city in search of work and the fact that everyone knows everything going on but no one wants to talk about it.
With a powerful cast boasting of seasoned actors like Khedekar, Soman, Devika Daftardar, Shriram Lagoo, Rajesh Sharma, Neena Kulkarni, Sulabha Deshpande and more, more than half the work is done. But the film doesn't solely rely on the actors' shoulders. It has a gripping plot as well. Khedekar is the thread that binds each character. Soman looks every bit the calm yet menacing villain and Devika Daftardar reminds you of Nandita Das. Shriram Lagoo's expressions do all the talking. Instead of going for lesser known actors for small parts, director Jayprad Desai has opted for experienced actors and each of them play their parts beautifully.
A small drawback with the film is that it slips off track at some places and the viewer is thrown into a void, unable to get a grasp of what's unfolding onscreen. The story soon comes back on track though.
We rarely see a film that has a strong balance of good content and technical acumen. Nagrik is one of those rare one. Do give it a watch.