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Lantrani Movie Review: An anthology of mediocrity- Cinema express

Lantrani Movie Review: An anthology of mediocrity

Starring Johnny Lever, and Jitendra Kumar, the film fails to leave any lasting impact

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Published: 09th February 2024
Lantrani Movie Review: An anthology of mediocrity

Lantrani is an anthology film that has quirky wordplays as titles for its three stories. The first one, Hud Hud Dabangg, features a police officer who is presented with an assignment to take a convict to a nearby court on his last day at work. In the second one, Dharna Mana Hai, we meet Gomti Devi, a Dalit woman who is an elected sarpanch from her village but is not allowed to govern by the upper caste people in the village. Along with her husband, she stages a silent protest against the authorities to bring attention to this. The third one, Sanitised Samachar, is set during the time of the lockdown where a news channel is forced to shoot a primetime show for a hand sanitizer brand with their Covid-positive host. The titles are interesting enough to make you want to check the rest of it. However, as the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat, the stories meet a similar fate.

Directed by: Kaushik Ganguly, Gurvinder Singh and Bhaskar Hazarika

Starring: Johnny Lever, Nimisha Sajayan, Jitendra Kumar, Jisshu Sengupta, Boloram Das

The anthology film has been directed by National award-winning directors, Kaushik Ganguly, Gurvinder Singh and Bhaskar Hazarika. Yet, the sharpness and originality in their craft are lost to a shoddily written screenplay. Written by Durgesh Singh, the stories never reach their potential and are just left meandering along the way. The first one, featuring Johnny Lever as the police constable, starts on a promising note. It is a treat to see Johnny in a slightly restrained role that doesn’t demand him to present an extravagant side, the one we are used to seeing. After the midpoint, the story takes a haphazard turn into the courtroom, which feels less like a chamber of law and more like a room full of aunties and uncles passing unsolicited moral judgements on the convict. It’s too difficult to digest the tonal imbalance in the writing.

The two other stories go further downhill. Lantrani’s best bet was the first story which derailed itself completely in the latter half. The second one has nothing to add other than what is already there in the logline. The metaphors of a silent protest are all lost as the film doesn’t know what to do with the material at hand. Jitendra Kumar does the bare minimum playing the husband of Gomti Devi (Nimisha Sajayan). By the end, the film feels incomplete and unresolved. You feel nothing for the characters and their struggles. It is a disservice to the story which had many elements to make it evocative. The third one might be the weakest in the anthology. It feels less like a film and more like a scattered YouTube sketch video. The lack of a proper narrative is being brushed aside with desperate attempts at humour like a wheelchair-bound journalist who is made fun of by a cop who remarks about journalism being in a wheelchair.

Lantrani could have been a far better experience if the acclaimed filmmakers were given independent grounds to write and tell their stories. Here, it feels as if their own sensibilities are hacked to death and they are just technicians saying ‘action’ and ‘cut’. There is little that they can do. It is a classic case of studios hiring great filmmakers to better sell their semi-good work. Like caging a bird or worse, setting it free with the wings cut. Lantrani is an amalgamation of the two; it can neither fly nor just be. 

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