In the heart of Gwalior, Apurva (played by Tara Sutaria) plans a surprise visit to Agra to celebrate her fiancé Sidharth’s (portrayed by Dhairya Karwa) birthday. Sidharth, a diligent bank employee, is stationed in Agra. However, what starts as a joyful journey takes a harrowing turn when Apurva’s bus becomes the target of a group of ruthless goons.
As the bus driver becomes a victim of the goons’ brutality for refusing to yield to their demands, chaos ensues. In the midst of the mayhem, Apurva’s resilience is put to the test. Unyielding, she adamantly refuses to surrender her mobile phone to the assailants. This defiance leads to her abduction, setting the stage for a gripping tale of survival.
The narrative unfolds with precision, revealing Apurva’s journey as she confronts the challenges her captors pose. The plot, driven by a series of well-paced events, centres around Apurva’s tenacity and resourcefulness as she strives to break free from the clutches of the menacing goons.
This Disney+ Hotstar offering isn’t just a thriller; it’s a deliberate attempt to make a statement about feminism and showcase the power of a brave yet vulnerable woman when she finds herself up against a gang of ruthless men.
The movie kicks off with a jolt as a gang of four thugs ruthlessly attacks three men in a car on a desolate stretch of highway in Chambal, grabbing all the jewellery they can get their hands on. As they move on to their next sinister mission, they cross paths with Apurva (portrayed by Tara Sutaria), who’s on a bus headed to Agra with plans to surprise her banker boyfriend on his birthday. Spoiler alert: her well-intentioned plans are about to go sideways. The gang, led by the menacing Sukhi (played by Abhishek Banerjee), takes an unsettling interest in Apurva, and from here on, the scenes that follow are crafted to make your skin crawl.
This film isn’t just about the thrills; it’s a deliberate exploration of feminist themes and the strength of women when faced with adversity. Apurva becomes the embodiment of both courage and vulnerability as she grapples with the malicious forces that disrupt her journey.
Throughout the unfolding narrative, Apurva’s encounters with the ruthless gang are designed to provoke a visceral response, ensuring that the audience is not just passive viewers but active participants in the tension and suspense. “Apurva” on Disney+ Hotstar isn’t just a movie; it’s a gripping journey that delves into empowerment and survival in the face of brutality. So, buckle up for an intense ride – this is more than just your average thriller.
Taking a stroll down Apurva’s memory lane, the film generously serves up flashbacks of her life and her entanglement with Sid (played by Dhairya Karwa). These glimpses into their world aren’t just there to provide character depth and a love story narrative; they also act as a much-needed respite from the on-screen violence that dominates the plot. Amidst the chaos, there are intriguing moments featuring the duo, especially when Apurva and her folks pay a visit to Sid’s abode to size him up before jumping into the arranged match pool. Despite their on-screen charm, the sparks between them fail to ignite, leaving a void in the emotional connection viewers could have forged, particularly with the film’s titular protagonist.
As the cat-and-mouse game between Apurva and her captors unfolds, the stage shifts to a ghost town, with empty houses adding a touch of eerie ambience. Here, Apurva grapples with the nightmare that has become her reality, desperately seeking an escape. The deserted village backdrop sets the scene for numerous gripping and tense moments, with the constant threat of assault hanging in the air like a storm cloud. However, the plot’s Achilles’ heel lies in its predictability, overshadowing the intensity of the suspense.
In the grand tapestry of Apurva’s story, the flashbacks act as threads weaving together the fabric of her character, offering glimpses into the intricacies of her relationship with Sid. Yet, despite the film’s attempt to inject sweetness into their on-screen dynamic, the chemistry falls short of sparking a fire, leaving the audience yearning for a more profound connection with the central character. As Apurva battles against the odds in a desolate village, the film delivers tension and gripping moments, but the shadow of predictability casts a pall over the narrative, preventing it from reaching its full potential.
Tara Sutaria shoulders the responsibility of doing the cinematic heavy lifting, expected to carry the film on her back. She shines in action sequences, gracefully sprinting around in a pink flowing chikankari kurta-pyjama or demonstrating some serious heavy breathing. However, when it comes to the demands of intense emotional scenes, she falls short, leaving a void in the film’s emotional landscape. In the realm of subject matter and storytelling, the film ventures into territory reminiscent of NH10, where Anushka Sharma’s character grappled with the horrors of honour killings, fought to save both herself and her husband and ultimately sought revenge. However, Apurva lacks the layers and nuances that made NH10 (2015) a cinematic masterpiece. Consequently, while it delivers shocks in certain segments, it fails to provoke deeper thoughts or contemplation. The film treads the path of shock value without delving into the profound intricacies that could have elevated it to a more thought-provoking level.
Clocking in at a concise one hour and 45 minutes, the feature film mercifully boasts a swift storyline, generously seasoned with action sequences that, admittedly, don’t shy away from a sprinkle of violence. However, the film kicks off on a disconcerting note, hinting at a rather unsettling inspiration for the gang’s kidnapping antics – a screening of the contentious film Kabir Singh.
In the tumultuous showdown between the gang and Apurva, our allegiances are clear; we’re firmly on team Apurva. Yet, despite the palpable tension, the film falls short in the buildup to Apurva’s assumed superhero mode. It’s like having a front-row seat to an intense battle only to find the fireworks missing. The film is an average thriller that yearns for the gravitas of a more commanding lead performance.
While the film maintains a brisk pace, courtesy of its succinct runtime, it leaves the audience craving a more robust portrayal of its central character. Apurva needed a lead performance with a bit more punch and a touch more intensity to truly elevate it from an average thriller to a cinematic force to be reckoned with. Alas, the potential for greatness remains just beyond its grasp.