What is it all about?
Well the timing is perfect for such a film to hit the screen when our channels are kept busy by the naxals. Helmer Ananth Narayan Mahadevan breaks his own 'suspense' mould and 'thrills' us with a topical film like 'Red Alert' in association with the skillful pen of Aruna Raje to give us a well-crafted but in no way earth-shaking entry in the helmer's oeuvre.
But certainly it's a commendable job by both the helmer and the writer who make sure that they don't end up raising the red lantern and shows us the plight from the eyes of an unbiased common man who is only bothered about his roti, kapada and makan.
The Story....Of course
Aruna Raje pens this one and remarkably maintains the balance by walking between without taking any sides and tells us a story of Narsimha (Suniel Shetty) a cook who desperately needs money to fund the education of his children. One day while delivering food to a band of Naxals holed up in a forest, is forced to join them, when the cops follow him and stage an encounter.
He suddenly finds himself in the midst of Naxalites, From being a mere cook to actually training in weapons to being involved in shootouts and kidnapping, Narsimha finds himself in the thick of life he had never bargained for. A confrontation with the group leaders turns his life upside down; he is now on the run from both law and the militants.
What to look out for?
The unwanted use/misuse of a simpleton in politicization of India's violent grassroot movement and the question whether these killings are justified comes up effectively. The helmer Ananth and writer Raje keep it simple and real where Ananth adopts a relatively cool photographic look and distanced shooting style. Finely supported by K. Rajkumar's first rate cinematography. Action scenes by Allan Amin are genuine. The movie is shot in difficult locations in dense forest and it's an achievement. The movie belongs to Suniel Shetty who delivers his best till date.
Ananth has unveiled a talent that was waiting to be explored for quite for so long. De-glam Sameera Reddy is very impressive. Ashish Vidyarthi coming after a long time is excellent. Gulshan Grover, Bhagyashree, Makrand Deshpande, Zakir Hussain, Aditya Lakhia, Sunil Sinha and Ehsaan Khan are competent. Vinod Khanna is superb. Naseeruddin Shah in just one scene shows the difference between a genius and regulars. The major achievement of the flick is making the audience also see the movement from the other side of the fence. Where the debate between a revolutionary and a terrorist goes further.
It has its share of flaws which cannot be ignored like two fire brand performers like Seema Biswas and Ayesha Dhandekar coming together in a movie based on naxals and they are just not offered much to do is really strange. The climax is bizarre which almost threatens the films otherwise fine impact.
Red Alert is a thrilling, thinking, Bollywood for the torch bearers of meaningful cinema, paisa vasool walas may not find things going their way but it certainly a finely crafted, written and acted cinema.