After being accused of murder and awaiting his death penalty, Kishen Mohan Girhotra is compelled by NGO worker Gayatri Kashyap to form a musical band of prisoners to compete at band competition held at the dreaded jail of ‘Lucknow Central’. Kishen befriends and convinces a talented bunch of criminals to form a band that provides them with a purpose and a new lease of life.Wikipedia
Lucknow Central Reviews
A better title for Lucknow Central might have been Boredom Central. At nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes, it’s far too long and far too dull to inspire any other response.
It is the supporting cast which is spot on, especially Rajesh Sharma and Deepak Dobriyal. But more than anything else, it is the mawkish sentimentality which overcomes the story-telling.
Any good escape film requires detailed plotting, however, and Lucknow Central is frequently stupid. The prisoners wanting to break out, to give you just one example, stash fake police uniforms in their drum set - even though their band doesn't ever play or practice with drums.
Lucknow Central fails to utilise its resources, especially Diana Penty, and loses out on a chance to become a really engaging film. Like Prison Break, it never reaps the benefits of a promising start.
Lucknow Central is a riveting tale of prisoners with an interesting premise and some sparkling performances but similarities with Qaidi Band will surely affect the film in every possible way.
The film doesn't make any significant statements on the legal system or rehabilitation beyond tedious displays of violence or stray moments, like when the out-on-parole convicts realise they are unwelcome, unfit for the world that has moved on without them.
Considering the film revolves around music, Rangdaari is a beautiful composition that sums up this fascinating tale of dreamers and fighters, who refuse to give up on life or faith.
For all those who have not seen Qaidi Band, we are sure that you will take an instant liking for Lucknow Central for its innovative script and screenplay. The movie will work, but, only if the word of mouth publicity is extremely strong. Still, the film is recommended by us purely for its innovative script and stellar performances by the lead actors.
If you are in the mood for something serious, check it out.
...despite the flaws, I enjoyed ‘Lucknow Central’. In this nauseating Bollywood milieu of romances and revenge sagas, this one makes an honest attempt to break the monotony.
On paper this looks like a thrilling musical but the glaring loopholes and lack of characterization make LUCKNOW CENTRAL an indigestible and unconvincing jail escape adventure.
...the film has its share of follies when the second half kicks off. The music could have been played a vital role in the film, but fails. A sloppy climax ends this sweet experience on a bitter note, turning out to be that unpalatable dessert that ruins a delectable experience. Yet, the plusses in Lucknow Central outnumber the weaknesses. It surely deserves a dekho.
Tiwari’s handling of the jail scenes are commendable even if the climax is a little contrived. And while this jailhouse rock-on see-saws between musical drama and message movie, its origins in a true story (about a real life prison band called Healing Hearts) and it’s notation on the merits of reformation give it soul.
The story of great escape of five prisoners from Lucknow Central jail is a decent watch because of the supporting cast.
Since the movie is about a group of prisoners forming a band, music has to be the core of the film and it has to connect with the listeners. Thankfully the soundtrack of Lucknow Central largely succeeds at that, though we miss an angst-filled rock number like Hulchul from Qaidi Band, a movie with a similar theme released a month ago. Still, the album is overall pleasant, and I will recommend it solely for Rangdaari.
It looks so unrehearsed so spontaneous....just like the film where the characters probably existed long before the writer and director thought about them. We just didn't know or care.
Audience Reviews for Lucknow Central
Get Anticipatory Bail. ♦ Grade D+
Director Ranjit Tiwari's debut feature film is about a bunch of jail inmates forming a music band as a cover to execute their escape plan. While it has all the regular elements of a prison film that push it to the bracket of mediocre cinema, one of the few things that sets it apart is that not much time is spent in the proceedings (which is ironical if you consider it in relation to a court).
Farhan Akhtar plays Kishan Girhotra who is accused, tried, and convicted within five minutes, which is sort of an assurance that the film's message is something else and not about political stranglehold or non-superficial corruption in the Uttar Pradesh capital. Son of a poor librarian, Girhotra had the aspiration to create a desi music band while he was free, but now that things have changed - not much to his fault - he decides to do so while behind bars. The difference, and thus the primary problem, with the film is that it is not clear if Girhotra wants freedom or considers forming a band in prison as his definition of freedom. Director Tiwari tries to provide answers at the end but falls prey to his own ambition to drive the musical drama towards a nail-biting prison escape (attempt) culmination.
Akhtar looks out of the place in the film, only throwing defective pronunciation at you to show that his character hails, in fact, from Lucknow. His (and his inmates) attires may have been thought over but do not help much in convincing their root. Having said that, he gives a decent performance as a wannabe musician. Girhotra once tries to show his work to a famous singer and ends up with a crushed CD in his hands - showcasing the hard truth about the music industry. (So, your chances of getting in is better if you were incarcerated?) Whatever may be the message of the film, having originated from a real-life story hardly adds up to the plausibility. The talented supporting cast put up a good show too, with extra points to Deepak Dobriyal, Inaamulhaq, and Rajesh Sharma who play characters that form the rest of the band. Diana Penty is the puppet that the makers use to show a sliver of romance in the film, but thankfully, never pursue it completely. A serious conversation between Penty's activist character and a police officer is supported by a funny background score - which is the best effort made at comedy, reminding us that the film should not be perceived as serious.
There is nothing novel in the film for an informed viewer to watch and appreciate. The usual prison tiffs between so-called "gangs", territory brawls, a menacing villain in the form of jail warden (a role made just for Ronit Roy), and the unexplored, impracticable escape plan. I am personally not a fan of films where a character introduces other characters - as Dobriyal's does for the other band members - because it exposes poor writing and narration. The good thing, however, is that the characters mimic other people in the film, which shows continuity and thought. For example, a police officer uses the words of the CM to reprimand one of his subordinates, and Pentry's character does the same when she utters an Orson Welles quote borrowed from a librarian.
I have already mentioned the implausibility of the plot, and one of the reasons why it affects the viewing experience so much is that the escape plan is never explored in detail. How are these people going to get out? A detail like the 15-second power generator window is not the only thing. The audience needs details and Lucknow Central chooses to keep them in the dark.
The plot further tries to humanize itself by exploring the characters instead. What prison does to the people waiting outside is one story arc, which again reinforces my point of non-novelty. Supported by a good and believable production setup, songs that gels with the theme, and performances that are watchable, the film pulls all known tricks available in the "prison movie" textbook, but fails to add freshness to the mixture.
At the end, it is clear what Girhotra wanted, but I'm not sure if I can say the same thing about the movie.