Trapped in the Cities That Are Driving Us Crazy

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Trapped in the Cities That Are Driving Us Crazy

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar

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bout halfway through the taut runtime of Trapped, a dejected but resolute Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) mumbles to himself “Kuch bhi ho jaaye, mujhe yahaan nahi marna hai” (Come what may, I’m not going to die here). Shaurya is locked inside the 35th floor of an uninhabited high-rise in a South Mumbai neighbourhood and with each passing day, his hopes of escaping keep receding. In its immediate context, the line is a testament to the protagonist’s will to resist the fear and terror accompanying his isolation, but if you go beyond, it is also a representation of the feeling every outsider has when they live in this city of dreams, squashed into their matchbox apartments, crammed themselves into their box cars, far away from the open spaces they once called home.

In his third directorial venture, Vikramaditya Motwane turns the innocuous setup of a high-rise (ironically called Swarg) into a brutal battleground for survival. Duped by a broker into renting a modest 1-BHK at a discounted rate, Shaurya soon realises he’s stranded without running water, food, and even electricity. His phone battery gives up soon after, leaving him almost incommunicado with the rest of the world. His attempts at screaming and wailing for help are also utterly useless.

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