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Review Hindi

House Arrest review: Ali Fazal's home alone movie is caught between genres and goes nowhere

Release Date: 15 Nov 2019

Cinestaan Rating

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Shriram Iyengar

With a predictable plot, easy to perceive characters, and jokes that don't come off, House Arrest should be left alone. 

A lone man, suffering from a past horror, chooses never to step out of his house. This might have made an interesting description for a quirky film. But Shashanka Ghosh and Samit Basu's experiment fails to generate any excitement, curiosity, or fashion a new experience out of its story. In the end, the comedy feels like a novice attempt at something that simply fell apart. 

The story begins with Karan (Ali Fazal) who has not stepped out of his plush apartment for the last nine months. His friend, JD (Jim Sarbh) is desperate to get him to move out, but fails every time.Karan simply wants to stay home, and not be disturbed. But his wishes are obstructed by Saira (Shriya Pilgaonkar), a journalist working on an article, and Pinky (Barkha Singh), the nosy neighbour who wants him to take care of a package. 

The film's plotline, while inventive, is packed with holes that leave it feeling flippant. The conundrum of Karan's loneliness and his desire to be alone feels undercooked. There is not enough humour to make it funny, nor enough substance to make an emotional impact. The incidents are set up like a sitcom, and feel lacking in their execution. 

The performances of Ali Fazal and Shriya Pilgaonkar are good, but not enough to generate any more interest in the story than it demands. The plotline moves slowly through a very predictable conclusion, and one you can see right from the beginning of the film. Jim Sarbh has an interesting performance, but is left inconclusively hanging in the structure of the story. 

Even the exploration of urban isolation or Hikikomori (Japanese term for the same) is not done with enough conviction. The situations which arise are absurd, but then that is the theme of the film. However, that absurdity is not pursued to a comic or a horror ending. This leaves the film treading water with no purpose. 

Netflix films from India have been having a bad run lately, and this House Arrest might have been another one. 

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