420 IPC movie review: An engaging yet rather forgettable courtroom drama kept afloat by performances
Movie - 420 IPC (2021)
Platform -Zee 5
Genre - Courtroom thriller
Language - Hindi
Director - Manish Gupta
Cast - Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Rohan Vinod Mehra, Gul Panag
Plot Summary - A bankrupt CA Bansi Keswani gets arrested in a case of attempted bank fraud and forgery. His novice lawyer then begins to starch the surface of a seemingly open and shut case but discovers there's more to Bansi's story than he's letting on.
Courtroom dramas have in the recent years have evolved into their own genre in Bollywood . Despite the spiked interest of filmmakers in the area, it could be rather difficult to pull one off. Manish Gupta revisited the space after Section 375 and his digitally released 420 IPC is engaging but instantly forgettable.
Section 420 IPC draws you in with a simpleton like Bansi Keswani played by Vinay Pathak who only by virtue of being a C. A . to people in high places is subjected to two enquires in a duration of five months. Bansi’s house if first torn down by the CBI after a government official whose family’s taxes he handles is accused of siphoning money. While he is given a clean chit in the matter here, five months later police official coming knocking and find three forged cheques amounting to Rs. 1.5 crores in his office which one of his builder clients has reported stolen.
Bansi Keswani who is seemingly bankrupt on the surface then employees a novice Birbal Bhaurdhary (Rohan Vinod Mehra ) who is up against a seasoned Public Prosecutor Savak Jamshedji ( Ranvir Shorey ) to prove the man’s innocence. What Birbal lacks in experience, he does make up with being sharp as a tack. With odds stacked up against his client Birbal tries to turn the tide on a case which is seemingly open and shut.
Even though Vinay Pathak slips on the mantle of a common man who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with ease, 420 IPC deserves credit for never completely removing doubt from your mind regarding his innocence. However, as the case moves forward each character involved seems to have their own ambitions attached to the case including Birbal who is desperate to prove himself with this case. Manish Gupta does well in subtly pivoting suspicions with new twists introduced with each hearing.
By not revealing all his cards at once, Manish Gupta manages to keep you engaged through the plot but as the climax approaches the filmmakers chases you to the end, running all the work gone into building it up. Another thing here is that the film has a rather intriguing sub-plot which makes you more curious and interested with a CBI investigation against Bansi which time and again collides with the rather pain forgery case. But alas you could brush your curiosity under the rug with that one because as soon as the matter starts attracting attention, it’s curtains down for the film.
The forgery front that the movie proceeds starts making you question why Manish Gupta discarded the narrative that added all the depth to the story in favor of investing so much on this rather plain case. What could have been a plain first half and killer second half by the end of the film becomes a rather forgettable experience despite all the efforts of the cast to keep it together.
Vinay Pathak, needless to say is dedicated to his character. But despite being the prime accused in the he given neither the time of attention in the film which his part deserved. Ranvir Shorey is diligent in his part and balances the scale with his presence in the courtroom but as a public prosecutor the writers seem to have run out of compelling arguments to support his case with and if not for his acting chops, his character would have fallen flat. Rohan Vinod Mehra takes the baton from Vinay Pathak and runs with it. He’s at the centre of all the action and pinoting the plot and he pull off his part convincingly enough even when put in a frame with seasoned actors like Shorey and Pathak.
Gul Panag plays a Bansi’s wife in the film and just as you being to question why she signed up for a role so plain that does nothing to prove her caliber as an actor, she turns the tide. However, like Vinay Pathak, she is on the sidelines.
420 IPC is engaging enough to pass as a onetime watch but leaves you dissatisfied just as it begins drawing you in.