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THE LAST ACT - An engrossing, experimental murder mystery which is bound to get mixed response but remains a must watch for all. (Review By Bobby Sing)

14 Dec, 2012 | Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

The concept of making a film featuring more than one directors contributing different stories of their own, is not a new one in Indian Cinema as publicized by the makers here. Many similar attempts have been made earlier too but admittedly no one ever tried making a murder mystery with different sections directed by various directors before as done in THE LAST ACT.

Based on an idea thought by Anurag Kashyap, here we have 12 debut directors making their own short films of 10-15 minutes each which become 12 related sections of a murder mystery with the running time of around 140 minutes. The directors were selected by the team of Anurag Kashyap, Sudhir Mishra and Chakri Toleti and they were reportedly given a month’s time to complete their film without being introduced to each other before reaching the compilation and editing process of the final product.
The film starts off with a brutally mutilated body found by the police, who has got 12 different things/clues lying on its body & clothes leading to the various sections of the film. Each of these clues belongs to a different city and as the investigations begin we are taken onto a 12 city tour with all first time directors showcasing their individual skills in portraying the proceedings on the same case in their allotted cities. So here we have a lot of variety of colours, locations, regions, flavors, languages and many never seen before brilliant actors who contribute hugely to the overall impact of the film in a superb way. Every director brings in his own intelligence and style to build up an interesting collage of mysterious happenings in the film and the narration keeps giving you new ideas to solve the murder before the climax reveals it all, at regular intervals.
Studying the film as a brave experiment, it is bound to get a mixed response from the viewers due to many factors, one of which is the use of English subtitles in it for a considerable period of time. After a brilliant start with a fabulous sequence featuring an English teacher and his suspicious student, we get to see other well conceived Kolkata & Chennai sections wherein one needs to read the English Subtitles (running on the screen throughout) to understand the dialogues. In fact the regional languages are retained as it is in related parts of the film, which might become irritating for a certain section of viewers not habitual of reading the subtitles. However if you talk about the actual cinema then this is exactly the way it should have been done and the team surely deserves all the praises to retain it as it is without going for any kind of funny dubbing.
THE LAST ACT also features few teasing, hard to get and weird kind of sequences (like the one showcasing a couple investigating an eccentric tantric and another in Chandigarh) which actually work as an obstacle to the interesting pace of the film and should have been avoided. As it is a result of collective efforts of 12 different persons, the film also has an unevenness in terms of resolution, camerawork and technicality which might be of some concern to a specific section of viewers too. But on top of all, when in the second half you are dying to know the actual link between the various investigations made in the 12 cities by different detectives, the final revelation doesn’t provide you the much expected shock or surprise and just remains a well written artistic kind of culmination which needed to be more solid and hard-hitting as per the build-up. Interestingly the climax of THE LAST ACT just gave me the same feeling I had while watching Aamir’s much talked about TALAASH, which was ‘nothing great or exceptional’ & to some extent ‘disappointing’ too.
But unlike TALAASH, here I was not too much concerned about the climax alone as the film gave me many more enjoyable & satisfying moments in its distinctive sections which we normally do not get to see in the usual stuff being made here in the name of Cinema. And for this the main person behind the project, Anurag Kashyap unarguably deserves much more acclaim to keep the passion of real film-making burning in Hindi Film Industry without giving any emphasis to the questionable Star system and their blind following.
To put it straight, THE LAST ACT may not be a tense, exciting murder mystery which forces you to use your grey cells to solve its created complexities. But its undoubtedly a novel concept rarely tried in Hindi Cinema introducing 12 talented directors in the industry along with showcasing a big bunch of expressive actors who deserve to be given more bigger roles in some meaningful films. Interestingly where the directors strongly prove their mettle to handle tough scripts, there are certain sections in the film which could have easily been saved as the plots of 2 or more future films by the makers. And for this I would really like to say Kudos to the entire team & their production house for going ahead with this project in such a way.
As a concluding note, THE LAST ACT also brings forward another important problem of our Industry related with the distribution & exhibition of such innovative films. Because it was a bit strange to see that though PVR Cinemas were the Multiplex & Release Partners of this film officially, yet it was not released in many major centers and was being shown in only 1 show even in its key centers & cities.
So if the makers or the industry want us to applaud such kind of great attempts made by some genuine filmmakers then they should also ensure that all the interested and keen viewers get to see these movies with a proper release and decent number of shows too. And unless this major problem is taken care of, films like THE LAST ACT will also come and go without any big response they rightly deserve and this avoidable gap will remain intact.
Rating : 3.5 / 5

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14 Dec 2012 / Comment ( 0 )
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