Qaidi Band review: Notes of freedom

Qaidi Band  

The cause is worthy: the plight of undertrials in India. The trishankus (in a limbo), who remain in confinement without being declared either guilty or innocent. The film tries to inform its presumably ignorant young audience of little details — how undertrials can’t earn a living in prison, like other inmates can; how Machal Lalung spent the longest time ever in prison as an undertrial: 54 years. Other social issues are also ticked — casual racism; North East, Nagaland to be precise, being part of India — but all this with hardly any imaginativeness. Also, despite questioning the state of affairs of the jagmag (shining) India, the love for it continues to shine on, in anthems like ‘I Am India’.

Qaidi Band
  • Director: Habib Faisal
  • Starring: Aadar Jain, Anya Singh
  • Storyline: A group of young undertrials finds freedom in music
  • Run time: 2 hours

Not only does Qaidi Band stay voluntarily far from scratching the surface of the issue but is unable to be a compelling watch either. For a real, troubling issue the solution offered is an unconvincing fairytale one.

Seven young undertrials are made to come together by jail authorities to form a music band that peaks in popularity amongst the young of the nation. Of the seven, two get conveniently bumped off in the middle from the script. The rest try to escape to sing in a rock concert. Of them the love-birds Sanju (Aadar Jain) and Bindu (Anya Singh) manage to get to the stage, and through their earnest message of how one should not take one’s freedom for granted, get noticed by the masses, the media, and a moneyed lawyer and a way too easy wish fulfilment of a rescue happens.

Part of the problem is the casting. Leave alone roughing it up in the prison, the kids look the kind who couldn’t have spent a day away from an air-conditioned room. The angst, the demons within never come to surface to play on their faces, in their expressions. The prison looks designer dirty, the crowds be it in the jail, at a mall or in the concert are clumsily handled. Despite Amit Trivedi at the helm the music refuses to soar. And in the name of band rehearsals, the old habit of Yash Raj — to replay songs from its own movies — continues. A limp effort which has one remain disengaged throughout.

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Printable version | Sep 13, 2021 7:55:57 AM |

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