Movie Review: Laal Rang

April 22, 2016
Handout photo from the film "Lal Rang"

Handout photo from the film “Lal Rang”

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Syed Ahmad Afzal’s “Laal Rang” is supposed to be inspired by true incidents surrounding illegal blood trade in India. Randeep Hooda plays Shankar, a suave, smooth-talking gangster involved in the racket in the town of Karnal, Haryana.

In order to gain access to a hospital’s blood bank, he enrolls in a college attached to the hospital, where he meets Rajesh (Akshay Oberoi), an impressionable young man who is instantly enamoured by Shankar’s carefree attitude and flashy lifestyle. Rajesh finds himself sucked into Shankar’s shady deals, and is soon ferrying ice boxes full of illegally acquired blood to dingy hospitals across the region.

With every successful deal, Rajesh finds himself more emboldened, and the steady flow of money helps him get into the good books of his girlfriend Poonam (Piaa Bajpai). He learns to look away when Shankar acquires blood from poor rickshaw drivers, and becomes an expert in spotting potential donors and extracting a bottle of blood within minutes.

But when things start to unravel, Rajesh finds himself at odds with Shankar and unable to handle the illegal operation. Afzal focuses on the relationship between the two men, choosing to gloss over the specifics of their deadly trade and the dynamics of a healthcare system which allows this kind of business to flourish.

The narrative is thin and repetitive, and the film relies mostly on the charms of its two leading men to carry the burden of a middling screenplay. The dialogue lacks spark and the director takes his own sweet time getting to the conclusion.

If it weren’t for Hooda and Oberoi, “Laal Rang” would have been a different film. It is to their credit that they infuse some blood into an otherwise lifeless narrative.

(Editing by David Lalmalsawma; Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay and David @davidlms25. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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