What would your natural reaction be when you feel hot and have the option of either turning on the AC or go for the fan switch? You might not have had an AC while growing up in a small town, but coming to a city like Mumbai instils in you a sense of ease, it channelizes the feeling of comfort in you, brick by brick, and forces you to go for the remote of an AC instead of the fan switch.
This is how your priorities shift. This is how you give into capitalism. This is how you get “Trapped”!
We live in a world where food, grocery, clothes and even friends are only as far as a few taps on our mobile phones. But what if the same phone runs out of battery and you are locked in a high-rise building with no food, electricity and anyone around? Vikramaditya Motwane, created this very scenario with the immensely talented Rajkummar Rao stranded in an isolated room of a high-rise building in Mumbai, fighting for his survival.
Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), who works in one of the companies where all you get is a cubicle and a desk to call your own, meets Noorie (Gitanjali Thapa) in his office and falls in love with her. Noorie has been set up by her parents in an arranged marriage and is set to get hitched in two months’ time. Despite this, the two get close and an intimate encounter between them in Shaurya’s rented flat triggers their need to get married as soon as possible. To get married, not only do they need a marriage registrar, they need a house of their own; which is an abysmally utopian entity in a maddening city like Mumbai. Shaurya starts falling into the trap of the city’s conditions for a better life, from this very need.
The build up of “Trapped” is meticulously planned as Shaurya steps into a flat in which electricity often trips. When he goes for the AC remote instead of the fan switch, he ensures that the flat goes out of electricity supply. The flat has no regular water supply, may be due to clearance issues from the municipality. All of it makes the ‘Swarg’, which is the name of the apartment, a living hell for Shaurya.
Motwane takes charge of the film, beginning his observation from the very moment Shaurya gets locked in the new house that he has selected to turn into a home. The very first call that Shaurya makes after he gets trapped inside his own house goes unanswered. The next call goes straight to a company dealing with numbers of people from various occupations, trying to sell him movie tickets while his phone is running low on battery. He neither thinks of calling one of his ex-roommates nor any of his close associates. He instead calls a company that provides a number of another person, who then provide their services, much like the food delivery services we enjoy, isn’t it? Well, eventually the battery dies, and with that Shaurya’s chances of easy survival.
It is when you are left with bare minimum that you find value in the little things that you have forgotten in your life. Be it the lovely sequence where Shaurya creates a flaming ‘HELP’ sign with his clothes or devises a method for storing water when there’s an unexpected Mumbai rain, “Trapped” reminds you of the important little things that we often overlook in our daily lives. Material benefits available in the flat such as the television set, fridge and geyser were all used, but for a different purpose as Shaurya attempts to survive.
Technology, that takes a lot out from our lives in terms of personal values, has been stripped to bare minimum in this survival saga. After the phone battery dies, shedding of technology and material things starts taking place through the narrative. The very material benefits of the flat that attracted Shaurya in the beginning, start to go out of the house once his fight for survival starts.The first thing to go out from the flat was the television set, which is unsuccessful at attracting the half-deaf watchman’s attention who is resting on the patio. The geyser was plucked out for a possible drop of water while the fridge was dismantled only to save the necessary water for the next few days of Shaurya’s survival.
Rajkummar Rao has not only lived the character of Shaurya in the film but understood the process as well. The reality hits you hard in a city like Mumbai, where living standards are terribly high and you need to do a lot to catch up. Rao has grasped the essence of the character flawlessly. The only friend that accompanied Shaurya during his stay inside the locked house, was the one he feared the most – a rat. Giving away your moral values and succumbing under the pressure of hunger to hunt a bird and eat it, is one of the biggest challenges Shaurya faces inside the house. Especially for a person who strongly opposes the idea of killing a life for the mere taste of it, “Trapped” feels like going back to the earliest civilisation when Shaurya turns into a hunter-gatherer caveman for survival.
Transformation of a typical Hindu, middle-class, god-fearing man to a self-sufficient, confident Shaurya is what “Trapped” has portrayed through the top-notch acting skills of Rajkummar Rao.
“Trapped” scores high in its tightly written screenplay and wonderfully measured cuts of Nitin Baid. The music of the film, composed by Alokananda Dasgupta, heightens the drama of the film to its umpteen layers. Deliberation upon the look and appearance of Rao in the film with every passing day inside the house is well thought out and credit for that should go to the make-up team (Zuby Johal and Rajiv Subba) of the film.
The city played an important part in the film as well with Motwane putting his signature at the very end, showing a trapped city of Mumbai through the glass of the same flat.
“Trapped” not only talks about people’s material inclination but also highlights the alienating nature of the bustling city. A city, where brokers will pounce upon the opportunity to rent you an unliveable flat, where the noise is such that your voice will remain mostly unheard by others living around you. There are moments in Trapped which will leave you gasping for breath, much like the isolating feeling that the city emanates to its people running behind quantifiable assets in their individual lives. “Trapped” is an important reminder for us to immediately stop whatever we are doing and think about the little joys of our lives that we are sacrificing for the bigger goals of ours.