With no other stand-out performance (besides Tara Sutaria’s) or impressive scene, Apurva falls by the wayside, where other quickly made films end up, points out Deepa Gahlot.
This woman-on-rampage film seems to have been made to fulfill a year-end quota or something like that because Apurva — written and directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat — looks rushed and half-baked.
It starts with a scene of gratuitous violence, when a group of unwashed lowlifes attack a car and kill the occupants — kicking one of them to death.
The most vicious is a juvenile, Chhota (Aaditya Gupta).
The other three of the gang are the gruff Jugnu (Rajpal Yadav), nasty Sukha (Abhishek Banerjee) and nastier Balli (Sumit Gulati), all bandits for hire, who follow up on tips to loot vehicles on lonely roads.
Just because a bus driver does not give their car right of way, they rob the passengers, and kidnap Gwalior-resident Apurva (Tara Sutaria), who is on her way to surprise her Agra-based fiancé Siddharth (Dhairya Karwa) on his birthday.
Their arranged-turned-love match is hurriedly introduced, but there are no details that might give some idea of who they are or what makes them click. So in this very low rent version of NH10 (2015, Director: Navdeep Singh), the lead pair remains uninteresting.
Similarly, the villains are cardboard cut-outs.
The plot exists in a void, without any sense of place. It is supposed to be the Chambal valley but instead of the ravines, most of the action takes place in what looks like a dig site — a maze of stone walls and red soil, that could be anywhere.
It is also observed that a film, supposedly ‘based on true events’, that purports to be opposed to violence against women has endless shots of Apurva being dragged, manhandled and slapped.
When she falls unconscious, Sukha tells Chhota that he won’t enjoy raping her unless she screams.
Then, in the most distasteful scene, the four literally have a pissing contest to determine who gets the first turn.
The film’s relatively short running time means there is no build up of tension or the unfolding of Apurva’s emotions, from desperation turning to rage and then fearlessness.
All of this simply portrayed by her running around or hiding and, at some point, miraculously finding a sickle that just gives the film a dramatic poster image.
If at all the film does anything, it is to offer Tara Sutaria a role that allows her to act, rather than just dress up and play pretty love interest to the leading man.
With no other stand-out performance or impressive scene, Apurva just falls by the wayside, where other quickly made films end up.
Apurva streams on Disney+Hotstar.
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