Knock Out - KNOCKOUT is a fast-paced thriller that happens in real time.
Director: Mani Shankar
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan Khan, Kangana Ranaut
Rating: ** (2 out of 5)
Will the barrel of a gun trigger change or will conscience call for it: That is the question that confronts the viewer as he sits through the gritty encounter between the would-be assassin (Sanjay Dutt) and the potential victim (Irrfan Khan). The gun-toting anonymous vigilante seems to have just one motive: He wants the dubious investment banker to confess and come clean about all his crimes and misdemeanors that have cost the nation dearly. The banker, on his part, doesn’t see why he should be coerced into a public confession, specially when almost the entire socio-political strata of the country seems to be wallowing in crime. But does he have a choice, when the bullets start whizzing past him, some even swinging dangerously close…
Knock Out unfolds mostly in a closed frame, with all the action transpiring around the phone booth (that’s the only similarity with the Hollywood thriller, Phone Booth). This works partially well for the film and does leave you fidgeting for more. However, both Irrfan and Sanjay Dutt play the cat and mouse game with chutzpah and invest a nervous energy in the proceedings. The first half of the film does take time to build up the drama, but once it does, there’s no looking back. Of course, Irrfan walks away with most of the applause with his mercurial act as the unpredictable target, but Sanjay too stands tall with his restrained vigilantism. Adding additional drama and — masala — on the fringes is the super-glam TV reporter, Kangna Ranaut, doing a catwalk on the crowded road, and snoopy cop, Sushant Singh, who refuses to put his ethics on sale. Of course Kangna is more funny than serious, a total gaffe as a TV reporter. And in case you’re looking for all black in this drama peopled with good and grey characters, there’s Gulshan Grover’s dirty politician act which does evoke a sense of deja vu.
Director Mani Shankar scripts a thriller, which holds your attention and manages to make an important point: Weed out corruption and see where India soars…