Directed by: Rakesh Ranjan Kumar
Starring: Lorena Franco, Bijesh Jayarajan, Neet Chowdhary
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Action, Thriller
Release date: April 12, 2019
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Coming from the streets of Paharganj, the movie depicts a woman’s search for her lost love, a man’s attempt to regain his lost enigma and dealing with his brother’s untimely death, an unexpected political murder, and raging gang war.
Jitender Tomar, the only son of home minister Dharam Pal Tomar, has been murdered on his 25th birthday.
Does police have any clue? Is the International Assassination Mafia responsible for his murder?
Paharganj, a locality in the heart of Delhi, clouded with dark secrets, plays a central role in the whole story. But, the questions remain unanswered. Who killed Jitender Tomar? How is Menon going to recover from his lost glory and misfortune? Is it possible for Laura to find her lover back from the clutches of the dark world of Paharganj?
Paharganj Movie Trailer:
Paharganj Movie Review:
Laura Costa (Lorena Franco) is in India in search of her missing lover Robert. Basketball coach Gautam Menon (Bijesh Jayarajan) is battling his inner demons while coming to terms with the demise of his younger brother Joy, a talented basketball player. Their fates collide in the quaint Central Delhi neighborhood of Paharganj following the unexpected murder of a local politician’s son on his 25th birthday.
Paharganj’s budget-tourist culture has set the stage for several popular films, including Dev D. And like Anurag Kashyap’s film, this one too showcases a lesser-known, seedier side of the neighborhood. Laura’s exploration of Paharganj leads us through a BDSM parlor, the late-night basketball betting scene, hippie cafes and motels and a thriving, deep-rooted narcotics ecosystem. There’s also the neighborhood slum, overrun by teenage wannabe gangsters whose lives sometimes spill out of their shanties and into Menon’s path. And so, through its main characters, the film shines a multi-hued spotlight on the many shades of grief—from Menon’s numbing, debilitating pain that affects his mental balance to Laura’s more silent, resilient sorrow that emboldens her to power through a trail that has seemingly grown cold. There are also two police officers (Karran Jeet and Rajeev Gaursingh) investigating the murder case and through their clumsy sleuthing, parts of the story eventually come together as a whole.
While the film is rich in visual appeal, showcasing with tenderness the by-lanes and drug-fueled ecstasy of the stuck-in-time location, it achieves very little by way of a storyline. By taking on important issues such as PTSD, sexual violence and corruption, the filmmakers bite off far more than they can chew when it comes to putting these talking points to good use. Salman Khan as Munna and Manish Devkunsh as Sonu BC, two urchins fighting to stake their claim over the slums of Paharganj, have a lot of potential but are under-utilised. It’s evident that the makers sought to shock and awe with their lascivious use of sexual elements—the BDSM parlour, for instance, adds nothing to the story save for a few, awkward visuals—while actually spending little time on scenes and themes that merited further exploration.
There’s an off-hand insertion of a ‘sex baba’ running a strange Osho-esque cult, who appears and disappears without adding anything to the story. The film also hovers over basketball rivalries for a minute and makes a reference to the prevalance of the sport in Paharganj, but that is purely incidental. Eventually the makers paint themselves into a tight corner, ending the film with an eyeroll-inducing denouement.
While seedy underbellies have and will continue to fascinate filmmakers across geographies, the audience has seen enough to not be fooled by films that trade sex and drugs for an actual plot. Although this one is somewhat watchable, thanks to its brisk pace and decent cinematography, nothing it says or does is new, revelatory or satisfying.
Paharganj Movie Songs:
Paharganj – Title Track | Lorena Franco | Ajay Singha | Shellee | Brijesh Shandilya; Shilpa Surroch
Kyun Dil Mera – Mohit Chauhan | Paharganj | Lorena Franco | Ajay Singha | Karran Jeet