200 Halla Ho Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 stars (two and a half stars)
Star cast: Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, Barun Sobti, Indraneil Sengupta, Upendra Limaye, Saloni Batra and Ensemble.
Director: Sarthak Dasgupta (IMDb credits Alok Batra as co-director)
What is good: It’s a wake-up call to our collective privilege to see what’s going on around us or beyond our high-rises and not reaching us. Atrocities, the caste class divide almost rules the system and this is a real story.
What’s bad: The over-the-top approach to many things, and a monotonous character given to Amol Palekar, which he tries to turn into gold.
loo break: Take it if you want
To watch or not?: The film’s blueprint isn’t something we haven’t seen yet, but the story is definitely one that everyone should know. A lot of this actually happened and you need to know.
Available on: Sea 5 Premium
I suggest reading an in-depth article on the Akku Yadav Execution case in The Guardian (dated September 16, 2005). It is about a gang of 200 women who enter the court and lynch their predator, who exploits many of them physically and mentally for more than a decade in Nagpur. 200 Halla Ho gets his inspiration from that and almost sticks to the real story with some creative liberties.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Script Analysis
In 2004, Nagpur woke up to the most bizarre murders it had ever seen. 200 women from Kasturba Nagar, who were not only harassed but many of them raped by Akku Yadav and his gang, killed him together by inflicting 70 serious wounds on him and cutting off his genitals. All this is not in a dark, secret place, but in broad daylight in the lobby of the city court of Nagpur. There is a lot about this case online. Usha Narayane, on whom Rinku’s Asha is loosely based, continues to fight. Read and inform yourself.
Comes to 200 Halla Ho the movie. Written by Sarthak Dasgupta, Abhijeet Das and Soumyajit Roy, the film is inspired by the same story. Following the non-linear format of storytelling, the film begins with the murder taking place, then slowly explains how, and what started this fire that the predator took with it. The writers waste no time setting up the story, which benefits the entire product.
The story is a reflection of the part of society that we don’t know or pay attention to. How marginalized communities spend their lives to gain basic respect from society and how the women among them must fight harder. It’s also a look at the predators that exploit women because they are either not equipped to protect themselves or have no voice to pull them out.
200 Halla Ho for a significant part is alarming and gives goosebumps because the disclaimer makes it clear that it really happened. Writing that takes liberties also creates a terrifyingly brutal blueprint. Police brutality, caste politics and gender warfare are at their peak. When the broth boils, the monster takes it, but at the cost of 200 ladies called assassins. Every part the writers were made a substantial point that I was with them.
But they definitely lost me when they started inducing over-the-top stuff in the script. From the actors talking in idioms (mainly Amol Palekar) to women crying melodramatically, it all seemed more than actually acting. The characters get no more than the newspaper article we’ve already read. Rinku Rajguru’s Asha, based on the real Usha, is also about to get a job in a hotel in Punjab.
She gets a romantic angle with Barun Sobti’s Umesh, but when she gets too much wind, it almost becomes their love story for a few scenes. We’re way beyond having a love angle and a romantic song in every movie, but the writers here forget about that.
I won’t deny it, this is a story tailor-made for a movie, but the writers fail to give it the meat it deserves. Watch Pink starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu, it respects every single character that graces the screen and gives them a layered universe. 200 Halla Bol fails in that area.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Star Performance
I can’t do this with an Amol Palekar performance, but for an actor of his caliber, the character is too monotonous and doesn’t give him enough to shine apart from a few scenes. The dialogues don’t help him either because they’re mostly idioms, and it seems like he even voices a scene he’s in.
Rinku Rajguru is a wise choice because her Asha is Marathi and helps her Hindi with accents. But even her character becomes one-dimensional after a point. Barun Sobti’s charm with cute eyes doesn’t help much to impress. The actor plays well. Upendra Limaye and Indraneil Sengupta do what they do best.
Let’s address the bad guy here. Sahil Khattar looks like he’s vlogging for his YouTube channel Khattarnak, but in a mean way. Not much effort has gone into creating him, Sahil is told he is Sahil, adds a bit of flirtatious attitude and the abusive dialogue does the rest. I’d like to keep my hopes at 83 because I don’t really want to judge him on this performance.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: Direction, Music
As a director, Sarthak Dasgupta focuses more on drama and less on the subtlety of it all. The story itself has enough drama, and stirring up more just makes it a TV series. And how many more OTT courtroom scenes do we have until we get our next Pink of Mulk? By now we all know that lawyers do not encounter a court while presenting their case, and there are not 100 people present in a room during the hearing.
The music album has a romantic song that makes no sense in the story. The haunting track in the credits is what deserves a mention.
200 Halla Ho Movie Review: The Last Word
Reading the story online gave me enough shivers and I expected the on-screen performance to be just as terrifying. To some extent it was, but the drama took over. Note if you can ignore a few things.
200 Halla Ho Trailer
200 halla will be released on August 20, 2021.
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