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In The Shadows review: Less of a psychological thriller, more of an emotional journey

Release Date: 16 Oct 2017 / 01hr 57min


Cinestaan Rating

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Suparna Thombare

A dishevelled and lonely outcast, Khudoos (Manoj Bajpayee), spends his time hauled up in a room full of monitors, broadcasting images from the CCTV cameras he has secretly installed around the city.

Director Dipesh Jain's In The Shadows is less a psychological thriller and more the emotional journey of its characters lost in the labyrinths of the walled-city of Old Delhi.

While creating this physical and metaphorical labyrinth (with great support from Kai Miedendorp's camera work) Jain laces it with twists and turns that comes with the terrain. But it's the beautifully etched characters and their emotional journey in the confines of this world that stays in focus through out.

A dishevelled and lonely outcast, Khudoos (Manoj Bajpayee) spends his time hauled up in a room full of monitors, broadcasting images from the CCTV cameras he has secretly installed around the city, while his friend Ganeshi (Ranvir Shorey) pays him regular visits.

An unexpected visit from his estranged brother does little to awake Khudoos from his self-imposed aloofness.

But hearing the sound of a young boy being beaten up through the wall of his room (which had been shut for many years) adds purpose to his life. He wants to save the boy from the abuse he is facing at the hands of his own father. And yet he is unable to capture the boy on his cameras and pin him down.

Bajpayee's character is trapped in his own mind as he wanders the tiny lanes, losing track of time. He is unable to escape his own demons.

The boy, Idris (Om Singh), wants to escape his circumstances and get out of the city too. His strict butcher father (Neeraj Kabi), who is often very violent with Idu (as he is fondly called by his family and friends) and unfair to Idu's mother (Shahana Goswami) is the source of unhappiness for him.

Jain attempts to create a maze, giving out clues through out, leaving it up to the audience to spot them and piece the puzzle.  

Unfortunately, you are more than likely to put the pieces together very early on in the film, and the big reveal may not come as a surprise at all.

Yet, you may be interested in finding out how the pieces fit together anyway.

Working with editor Chris Witt, Jain intertwines Khuddoos’ quest with the boy’s tale, jumping between obvious junctures, also giving out crucial hints at the end game.

And yet, you do feel invested enough to witness the dark journey of the characters to the ultimate end, thanks also in large part to the engaging  performances from the young Singh, Bajapayee, Shorey, Kabi and Goswami.

In The Shadows was screened at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on 16 October 2017.

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