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SETTERS - Despite flaws, it engages and entertains as a taut thriller, successfully conveying what WHY CHEAT INDIA failed to do in a similar attempt. (Review by Bobby Sing)

04 May, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2019 Releases

Post making a worth praising film DHOOP back in 2003 and some duds later in the last two decades, director Ashwini Chaudhary comes up with SETTERS based on a just one film old novel plot, which we recently witnessed in Soumik Sen-Emraan Hashmi’s WHY CHEAT INDIA released in January 2019. Incidentally there was a sub-plot on this subject in Tigmashu Dhulia’s MILAN TALKIES too released in March this year.
SETTERS revolves around exam-fixing just like the match-fixing, where the questions papers get leaked before the major competitive exams (leading to reputed jobs) and either students are prepared with the right answers (given by hired experts) a day before or trained proxy examinees are sent to the examination halls with fake identities. Big rackets are into this crime in the North and other parts of the country involving huge money and the genuine students become the poor victims of this shameless corruption without any fault of theirs. The biggest irony is that this crime also includes medical exams that results in so many undeserving and unqualified doctors proudly practicing in the society, carelessly playing with the precious gift of life.
Anyway, sharing the good news, SETTERS is a far superior film on the subject compared to WHY CHEAT INDIA, because it neither forcibly revolves around any one lead hero nor does it try to present the theme in any preachy manner as a dark social issue raising the obvious moral questions. The writer-director very thoughtfully present the real life inspired crime story as a cat and mouse chase game between the police and criminals, more like a heist film to be specific and thus results in a largely engaging and entertaining narrative well supported by a talented cast ensemble. 
Besides there is no time wasted on the routine romance, song and dance in the film right from the beginning and it straight away comes to the point without any initial build up or usual introductions breaking the set pattern. In fact the opening 10 minutes of the film itself make you realize that this is something entirely different, made with a dedicated focused vision and is sure going to be an engaging as well as an entertaining, exciting thriller with some splendid performances.
Thankfully SETTERS delivers the expected content in most of its 125 minutes of duration and has quite a few powerful sequences in store for the interested viewers, with the best one being the ‘the Baniyaan scene of Vijay Raaz’ – details of which should not be disclosed in the review. Beginning from Mumbai the narrative takes you across various cities including Jaipur, Varanasi and Delhi, and you can feel the texture of these cities in its specific sequences with a good support coming from the cinematography and background score department in particular. Also the dialogues impressively enhance the proceedings in its various sequences rendered by different characters.
Having said that, SETTERS also remains an uneven film in terms of its flow as it more or less remains on the same note missing the expected crescendo. It takes its own cinematic liberties and has its shares of flaws too like a former cop suddenly coming out of the prison and allowed to work on the case, hiring a reputed bank employee/manager as the proxy examinee, everyone easily fooling the team of cops and then the officers so closely following the suspects without any disguise, as if they will not be recoganised by the same people whom they have beaten blue and black in the police custody. The finale too is a bit downer since it all ends abruptly without bringing back the main villain or having any enjoyable build-up. And probably that is the reason one doesn’t leave the theater feeling any kind of a cinematic high.
However, what actually holds the film tight, every time it starts losing the grip are the strong performances by an interesting and well-chosen cast including Shreyas Talpade subtly playing the mastermind behind all the crimes, Aftab Shivdasani as his inspector friend willing to arrest him red-handed, and the veteran – one of the most underrated actors of Hindi cinema - Pavan Malhotra who literally rules the screen in every scene of his irrespective of who else is featuring in it. No doubt, Pavan is one of those exceptionally talented actors in Indian cinema active since last three decades, who are not given their due and who are rarely cast in roles matching their gigantic capabilities. 
Playing the female leads though both Ishita Dutta and Sonali Seygall get nothing much to do, they still don’t disappoint along with Zeeshan Qadri, Manu Rishi Chadha and Anil Mange entertaining in their individual scenes. On the other hand, the two names who really take the film to another level with their valuable contribution are Jameel Khan (as the suspended cop) and Vijay Raaz (as the duplicate document expert) coming up with the most interesting scenes.
In all, SETTERS has its shortcomings but it still engages and entertains as a fast paced taut thriller, successfully conveying what WHY CHEAT INDIA failed to do in a similar attempt. Moreover this is worth a watch just for Shreyas Talpade, Vijay Raaz and Pavan Malhotra alone apart from being based on an important eye-opener subject. 
In other words, had this been a Akshay Kumar or Ajay Devgun film (in the same genre of BABY, SPECIAL 26 and RAID) then it surely would have been the talk of the social networks receiving much more appreciation and success……….. But then, who cares, as here we are used to and cleverly conditioned to praise and talk about only the films led by the icons, ignoring the other worth praising attempts released with much less publicity. 

Rating : 3.5 / 5 

Tags : SETTERS Review By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Hindi films based on real life events, Real Life Inspired Hindi films, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews By Bobby Sing
04 May 2019 / Comment ( 0 )
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