<Review by: Anuvrat Bhansali>
Directed by Kabeer Kaushik. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Sonu Sood, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Swanand Kirkire.
We’ve had a kind of an overdose of gore and gun-shots in the past couple of months with Department, Shanghai, Ishaqzaade, Gangs of Wasseypur and now Maximum. While some of them have been an absolute delight for the moviegoers some have been very mediocre and highly forgettable. Maximum is a Police vs. Underworld mafia story and before you make assumptions, please note that it isn’t about the heroics of the police but about bad blood brewing within them. It’s a relatively fresh approach to the cliché good guys against bad guys theme.
In 2003, when the Mumbai Police is in its top shape against the underworld and gunning down mafia men almost daily, Pratap Pandit (Sonu Sood) led the killing spree with his own A-Team. Even though he had an impeccable Police record, Pandit also used his influence to protect builders and in turn fill his own pockets. While different police departments had strictly defined jobs and areas of action, their operations frequently overlapped and mostly so when it came down to nabbing the illegal activities happening in the city. Using this to trump Pratap as the numero uno anti-mafia force, Officer Arun Inamdar (Naseeruddin Shah) starts his own task force gunning down gangsters who are Pratap’s informers. The rivalry starts shaking up the entire police department and the politicians have to get involved and take sides. Pandit loses the battle when he is suspended owing to his illegal associations with builders.
Five years after suspension, Pandit’s confidante and state home ministry aspirant – Tiwari (Vinay Pathak) uses his political influence to get Pandit back in action. Pandit’s rise not only hassled the other police department but also the mafia men operating out of India and the local politicians. The internal politics and rivalry become so convoluted that it all boils down to Police vs. Police for maximum power.
Sounds complicated? Well it is! The rather befuddling aspect of Maximum is that it combines reality with fiction. While the plot includes the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, it also depicts gangsters being shot by the police in every part of the city in broad daylight with the public all around. More surprisingly, it also shows policemen shooting fellow policemen at local stations, which are never so deserted.
The movie has no high points really except a few moments where you are in awe of either Sonu Sood’s charisma or Naseeruddin Shah’s screen presence or Vinay Pathak’s role as an utterly soft-spoken politician. The ladies of the movie Neha Dhupia (Pandit’s Wife), Anjana Sukhani (Pandit’s extra-marital affair) and item girl Hazel Keech have no weight or influence. Though it’s less than two hours, Maximum feels like day old chewing gum that you need to spit out but can’t find a dustbin.