Lucknow Central – 3 Stars
Duration: 147 minutes
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Deepak Dobriyal, Ravi Kishan
Director: Ranjit Tiwari
Production: Nikhil Advani, Monisha Advani, Madhu G. Bhojwani, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures

Make way for Some Jail House Rock!

Farhan Akhtar plays Kishan Mohan from Moradabad, who dreams of making it big in the music world. But his quest to get there lands him in jail, as he is falsely accused of murdering an IAS officer and is given a life sentence.

At the outset, Lucknow Central is a feel good film even though most of the film’s screentime is within the confines of a jail. After being wrongly put away for murder, Kishan Mohan’s plea for a shorter jail time is rejected and he is slapped with the possibility of a death sentence instead. And is promptly moved to the formidable Lucknow Central jail with its menacing jail officer and inmates.

While Kishan tries to find his space through all the gang politics in jail, he is also busy plotting a jailbreak. But for that he needs to find some takers for his plan first. With the Chief Minister ordering for a music band to be formed in the jail – he finds the perfect alibi for his neatly thought out plan.

Though contrived in portions, Lucknow Central makes for pleasant viewing and does pull off some good emotional moments. The dialogues are sprinkled with a few good laughs and the script is lifted considerably by commendable supporting performances by Deepak Dobriyal, Ronit Roy, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma and Ravi Kishan. Farhan Akhtar gives his best to the performance but doesn’t quite pull off being a small town guy convincingly. His urbaness does come through – in his accent and mannerisms. Diana Penty is earnest in her role as an NGO employee working to reform prison inmates.

The foot thumping and hummable music is definitely a high point of the film. A touching turning point in the film is when the inmates part of the band and in sync with the jailbreak go out on parole. And realize their life inside the jail has been infused with new meaning thanks to the band they have formed. And Kisan too inadvertently realizes his dream, even though the intention was to plan a jailbreak under the excuse of forming a band. Does he make it out with the impending death sentence? A set of good performances, a light hearted vibe despite the jail setting and a few grim moments all come together to make the film worth one watch for sure.

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