First off, Trapped is not an easy film to process. The film has very little plot but very high engagement. Having a crowd of 200 people give the exact same reaction at the exact same time is something most filmmakers only dream of achieving. It only took Vikramaditya Motwane 3 films to get there.
There’s more to the story of Trapped than they tease in the trailer. The film is more than just a guy being trapped in a house. The film, it appears, pokes fun at the busy lifestyle of people in the metro cities.
An empty high rise building can signify many things but at the same time, it can mean absolutely nothing and that, is the brilliance of Trapped. More often than not, the film teases of having a deeper meaning and just as you try to make sense of it all, it presents the next occurrence in a matter-of-fact way, as if everything was bound to happen and that there’s no hidden meaning to the various junctures of the story.
Rajkumar Rao’s unbelievably real portrayal of a calm and composed individual is tested to the brim of insanity by the situations presented in the story.
The choice to have a composed central character may have come out of the insanity of the story. Rajkumar Rao’s character is written as a confident self-dependent guy who sneaks his way into a romantic relationship with the mesmerizing Geetanjali Thapa.
His character is also shown as aloof who doesn’t have any close friends except a bunch of flatmates who look like it’s been 12 years since they last gave a fuck about anything.
It goes without saying that Vikramaditya Motwane provides a justification to almost every exit strategy that the audience may come up with, for Rajkumar Rao’s character.
No matter what you think you could have done, you will find yourself saying “easier said than done” as you see Rajkumar Rao trying out and subsequently failing at almost all possible escape plans. And that’s the beauty of this screenplay written by Hardik Mehta and Amit Joshi. Despite having an extremely restricted plot, the film holds on to your attention (except on a couple of occasions).
Thanks to the theater owners who agreed to screen the film without an interval, you begin to feel claustrophobic by watching it all take place in the same room. That’s unless you’re texting someone on Whatsapp, which most of us Indians can’t seem to breathe without.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s direction deserves a separate article altogether but well..
Most of the scenes inside the house have been shot at a close angle so as to make you feel claustrophobic ad that’s worked really well in the favor of the filmmaker. But what’s surprising is that in a film where you expect to experience things from the central character’s perspective, you’re often thrown at the outside by a distant camera angle.
For example, early on in the film when Rajkumar Rao gets locked inside his house, the filmmaker shows you his struggles from inside the room. You see how he’s throwing everything in his sight to damage the lock but fails. And then suddenly, there’s a low angle shot from outside the door where you hear Rajkumar Rao screaming for help from the other side of the door. This particular shot makes you look at his plight as an outsider.
The same is repeated a couple of more times in the film. The director could have chosen these camera angles for various reasons but the choice is undoubtedly interesting. It exposes the audience to see the film from a different perspective.
It only goes on to show that you can give Vikramaditya Motwane any amount of plot, he will make an exceptional film out of it.
One of the film’s biggest strength is its background score and the sound design. The sound of the metal pan clanking against the grill of the balcony is used repeatedly, almost as if the director is telling you that this is your only source of music in here. The background score takes the film on a high and Rajkumar Rao’s acting beautifully compliments the score.
However having said that, the film doesn’t come without its flaws. The film’s biggest drawback (which to a particular audience will also be its biggest strength) is its limited plot, which makes it rather unlikely for family audiences to flock to the theaters to watch it.
Rajkumar Rao is an exceptional actor who will climb many stairs of stardom with this performance alone. In case the world wasn’t paying attention to Rao’s acting abilities, it will now.
Had there been any other actor playing this character, the film would have turned out to be very very different from what it is right now. Trapped is the first ever survival thriller made in India and it’s really powerful.
It’s not an easy film to watch, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a landmark debut for the genre in India. Hope the next entries in the genre will live up to their predecessor.