Review Hindi

The Suspect review: Nitin Chandra calls out communal othering

Release Date: 05 May 2017 / Rated: U/A / 30min


Cinestaan Rating

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Ramna Walia

The Suspect’s biggest strength is NSD alumni, Durgesh Kumar who has previously worked in films like Highway (2015), Freaky Ali (2016) and Sultan (2016).

Director Nitin Chandra’s The Suspect stood out with its substantial subject, sensitive treatment, evocative camerawork and a power-packed performance by Durgesh Kumar. It was recently screened at the Diorama Film Festival & Market (DIFF) in Delhi as part of the festival’s first installment of short film screenings.

In this 30-minute film, Abdul Rahim Ansari (Durgesh Kumar) comes to Mumbai from Darbhanga, Bihar to work as a trainee in a film unit. Within a day of entering the city, Abdul finds himself caught up in the noise and rhythms of the city of Mumbai during a terror attack. The film portrays the trials and tribulations of Abdul as he ends up as a key suspect of the terror attacks.

The film evokes neo-noir dystopic realities of regional and communal othering and imposed criminality of a Bihari Muslim man.

Chandra is inspired by the numerous newspaper stories about Muslim youth who have been arrested on suspicion of terror links and jailed without concrete evidence. In a powerful epilogue to the film, Chandra calls out the injustice of codified identity and hyper-surveillance that saturates the screen with a list of men falsely jailed.

The mise en scène of the film juxtaposes the chaos in the city as it trickles into Abdul’s life. Abdul’s touristic meanderings through crowded Mumbai is powerfully captured through a powerful sound design that helps establish the pace of the film.

Chandra’s play with subjective camerawork in the second half of the film is powerfully captured using motion camera that creates the emotional state of mind of Abdul as he walks through the dingy, low-lit corridors of his hotel.

The Suspect’s biggest strength is NSD alumni, Durgesh Kumar who has previously worked in films like Highway (2015), Freaky Ali (2016) and Sultan (2016). Kumar’s restrained performance lends Abdul a layered persona and sensitivity that drives the film’s emotional tenor.

The Suspect is an important film from Chandra who has previously made critically acclaimed films Deswa (2011) and Mithila Makhaan (2015).

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