A multi-tiered satire that occasionally tires

A multi-tiered satire that occasionally tires

Zed Plus
Hindi, UA ***
Director: Chandraprakash Dwivedi
Cast: Adil Husain, Mona Singh, Mukesh Tiwari, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, K K Raina, Rahul Singh

Film aficionados will be happy to see socio-political satires finally making it to theatres these days. They are a welcome change from the Rs 100-crore club, which mandates temporary desertion of the brain.
 

Films such as Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s “Zed Plus” help us bring the focus back on good cinema. Dwivedi, still best known for helming the TV epic “Chanakya” and portraying the character memorably, is in his element with Ram Kumar Singh’s story. He has a good handle of the plot, but is let down by other departments. For example, the screenplay makes the 140-minute flick seem a drag.

It all begins with a coalition-plagued prime minister (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) visiting a dargah in remote Rajasthan. The holy precinct is serviced in rotation, and it’s the turn of tyre-repairer Aslam (Adil Hussain), who is constantly hassled by his distant-kin neighbour (Mukesh Tiwari).

When Aslam complains to the prime minister about his neighbour, he misunderstands it as “neighbouring state”, and asks his can-fix-anything secretary (K K Raina) to arrange for Z-category security for Aslam.

This sets in motion a socio-political Rube Goldberg machine, taking Aslam and his wife (Mona Singh) on a roller-coaster ride whose ending seems ruinous. But is it?

Dwivedi’s handling of scenes oscillates between brilliant and banal, and instances of highlighting the same plot point twice, as well as mistakes like “residance”, take away some of the beauty of the film. However, subtle plot elements, like a hotshot Aslam having an epiphany at a place where his car has broken down, are appreciated.

Hussain’s acting is somewhat of a letdown, but the rest of the cast, including the English-only prime minister, the crooked scrap-dealer (Liliput Farooqui in a cameo) and the CRPF inspector assigned to protect Aslam (Rahul Singh) support the film enough to lift it beyond mediocrity.

It’s no “Welcome to Sajjanpur”, but “Zed Plus” is definitely one of the better socio-political satires of recent times.

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