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House Arrest Movie Review: Ali Fazal, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Barkha Singh- Cinema express

House Arrest Movie Review: Trapped in mediocrity

The slipshod screenplay makes this Shashanka Ghosh-Samit Basu directorial the newest entrant to the growing list of 'good idea-not-so-great' films 

Published: 15th November 2019
House Arrest Movie Review

Imagine you are asked to stay within the four walls of a luxurious apartment, with ample supply of food, money, gadgets, and access to the Internet. And the best part is you get to have your visitors around if you need company. Doesn't sound like such a bad deal, right? This is the basic premise of House Arrest, which unfortunately, does not live up to its promise. The slipshod screenplay makes this Shashanka Ghosh-Samit Basu directorial the newest entrant to the growing list of 'good idea-not-so-great' films. 

Cast: Ali Fazal, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Barkha Singh, Jim Sarbh
Director:  Shashanka Ghosh and Samit Basu

Ali Fazal's Karan is a hikikomori (a loner who withdraws from the society). Unlike other hikikomoris Karan hardly spends any time on the Internet. He has his own ways to keep himself engaged, like gardening in his balcony, trying his hands out in plumbing, and India's unofficial timepass, spying on neighbours and gossiping.

Karan has successfully not stepped out of his apartment for 279 days. But his 280th day of isolation is not going to be an ordinary one. A mixed series of fortunate and unfortunate events lead him to supervise a mysterious unconscious man trapped in a suitcase and simultaneously fall for the girl who has come to interview him. Though this chaos is reminiscent of those in many Kamal Haasan films, the gags it delivers are scanty, irregular, and hardly memorable. The tropes and characters used by the director duo, like the gigantic, dull-headed bodyguard Rambo and the short guy trapped in the suitcase, end up being ineffective rehashes. 

Ironically, the silly, rich girl character, who unintentionally gets on the audience's nerves with her over-the-top sassiness, ends up being the funniest one here. Barkha Singh's Pinky is definitely extra and is full of drama, but it is good to see the actor making an impact within the restrictions of her character. 

Even though I tried to convince myself that modern love happens on a fast track and films are meant to be an exaggeration of reality, the pace at which the lead pair develops feelings for each other left me confused about my understanding of relationships. The timeline of the story is the biggest setback of House Arrest as the entire love angle feels super-rushed to fit in the timeframe of 24 hours. But, I particularly liked the complex relationship triangle between Karan, Saira, and JD (Jim Sarbh), and the way it is dealt with. 

Excluding the efficient visual inserts of the callers who virtually appear in Karan's house, the film is a huge let-down on the technical front. The restricted locations make it feel rather like a short film entry in a time-constrained competition. 

Throughout the film, people get disappointed with Karan for not taking any efforts to step out of his comfort zone. Watching House Arrest, I felt the same about its makers. 

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