Trapped review: The film is a lot like life itself!
A survivalist film, except that it’s set in the middle of a buzzing city
Tuesday 21 March 2017
Rajkummar Rao, Geetanjali Thapa and Khushboo Upadhay
Watching Trapped is an experience in decoding its symbolic messages, both obvious and innate.
For example, the protagonist sees a cockroach when he needs most to be resilient, and the character is named Shaurya which means bravery. The building he is trapped in is named Swarg (heaven), a clever joke. But if you really think about it— the character’s journey is like life itself. It reminded me of the proverb— ‘When one door closes, another opens’ (you’ll understand this better as you watch the film).
The story is about a person trapped in the unlikeliest of places (their own home), and finding their way out in the unlikeliest manner (one of my favourite scenes of the film).
Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao) finds himself in a situation so close-to-home (excuse the pun), it’s frightening. It’s happened to all of us at some point. To put it simply, he gets locked inside his new home without access to the key. We realize it was out of desperation that he had rented out the flat in the deserted building. He shouldn’t have. We all make mistakes when we take decisions under duress.
Absurd as it sounds, he is trapped in the midst of a bustling area with people all around, but his voice doesn’t even reach the watchman who is used to the empty disputed building. Shaurya is isolated in a crowd, which is a situation both confusing and frustrating. He does everything to escape. All this is so unbelievable and tragic, it’s borderline comical.
It’s ironic to witness a person in a plush part of Mumbai face the same challenges as a person would on a marooned island. Food and water become priority. Sanity is maintained by talking to newfound furry friends. A cockroach becomes an inspiration to survive, and insects become lunch.
As we watch Shaurya channel every caveperson instinct in the sparse apartment, one leap of faith opens another door effortlessly. And isn’t life like that – a seemingly obvious solution may not work, and suddenly another opening manifests, just like that.
Trapped had me thinking back to 127 Hours, Cast Away and the more recent Room. While Cast Away is about a man (Tom Hanks) who finds himself on an island after a plane-crash, 127 Hours has James Franco essay the role of a mountaineer literally trapped under a boulder. In Room, a woman (Brie Larson) kidnapped and enclosed inside a single room with her child, plans a thrilling escape.
Trapped too is a survivalist film, except that it’s set in the middle of a buzzing city. And this delicious irony makes the film that much more terrifying.
The film with its superb performance, music, sound and cinematography has an effect on you long after it’s over. I, for one, kept staring at the empty high-rise near my home wondering what stories lay trapped inside.