Movie Review: Rukh, Here's Quite An Unusual Suspect Of A Movie

The story is the thing in this decidedly different whodunit, topped by first-rate performances by Manoj Bajpayee and Adarsh Gourav.
three stars

The search is on. An angst-ridden teenager smells something foul in his father’s death in a car accident. No detective he, the boy takes on differing versions of the incident, to unravel the mystery.

Here, then, is a heart-rending take – a son’s mission of inquiry – which culminates in the unusual suspect of movie titled Rukh (The Aspect), directed without any far-fetched flourishes by first-timer Atanu Mukherjee. The mood is consistently intriguing, emotionally-probing and uncompromisingly unhurried (slow-paced, if you like). Be warned, if you’re one of those ‘time pass’ seekers, this isn’t your ticket.

However, those who have a taste for the untested and unformulaic, the film despite its langurous stretches, are more than likely to relate to the journey undertaken by Dhruv (Adarsh Gourav) towards that elusive destination, the truth and nothing but the truth.

adarsh gourav in rukh
Adarsh Gourav In Rukh

At the outset, Dhruv merely seems to be one helluva difficult, complicated kid.

A tragedy hits his hard on the face: his father, Diwakar, a textile businessman (Manoj Bajpayee) is killed the aforecited car-truck collision. But as they say, there’s more than meets the eyes. The son’s stoic mother (Smita Tambe) seems to harbour secrets and lies. And the father’s business partner (Kumud Mishra) appears to be glossing over, if not evasive about the questions which must be answered.

A  welter of attitudes suggesting that life must move on, and  the reminder that a teenage boy has a whole life ahead of him, serve as deterrents towards the inquiry. Indeed such don’t-open-the-Pandora’s box warning, have led to countless unresolved hit-and-run fatal accidents in real-life, be it our own cities or in any other big or small town anywhere.

smita tambe in rukh
Smita Tambe In Rukh

The theme of Rukh, in fact, has an universal resonance. And I’m not making any Newton-versus-Secret Ballot sort of allegations here (may those doubts rest in peace).  But I must mention the book, After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story authored four years ago by  one of GQ magazine’s editors, Michael Hainey.

In this case, the writer narrates his real-life story of the search, undertaken after decades,  to solve his father’s mysterious death in a car accident. Profoundly moving, the book which topped the New York Times’ bestseller list,  it covers practically the same terrain as Dhruv’s in Rukh. The point I’m making is that similar stories are endemic the world over.

Clearly, the story is where the strength is. Director Atanu Mukherjee’s dramaturgy could have packed in a heftier emotional wallop though. Indeed the boy’s rage could have been expressed with way more explosiveness. Also like it or not, Akira Kurosawa’s classic device, as perfected in Rashomon, of delving into  different subjective version, seems to be a facile route taken here.

a still from the movie rukh
A Still From The Movie Rukh

Let’s just see and hear a hard-hitting subject, solid and straight-on please.

That cavilled, Mukherjee’s is an auspicious, indie debut, which should make him a name to reckon with.

Amit Trivedi’s music enhances the overall investigative tenor. On the plus side, do count Pooja Gupte’s evocative camerawork.

rukh movie still
Manoj Bajpayee & Smita Tambe In Rukh Movie

The brooding, introspective aspects of the son are impactfully rendered by Adarsh Gourav. Smita Tambe and Kumud Mishra deliver lifelike performances. And Manoj Bajpayee, in a relatively brief role, is in terrific form throughout, refraining from striking any mannered or false note.

Plea: If it’s a film for thought you crave for, make a beeline for Rukh, while it’s still on at the ‘plexes.




Image Source: youtube/zeemusiccompany

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