A heart is transferred from Mumbai to Pune in peak traffic hours with rains lashing the route. This is what sets the stage for making most of the second chance that everyone connected to this drama gets:
A boy, who is brain dead, could well have his heart beat for someone else.
A girl, who could well be dead without a heart, could well gain a second chance to live on.
A constable (Manoj Bajpayee) wants to pick up the challenge as he wants to prove that he is not corrupt at heart.
A commissioner (Jimmy Sheirgill) wants to make this happen as he was apprehensive earlier on to take this accountability.
A friend (Amol Parashar) could get rid of the guilt factor associated with an accident and redeem himself by making it all possible.
A doctor (Parambrata Chatterjee) could battle out the dilemma and decide for himself if his professional responsibility is greater than his personal crime.
A superstar (Prosenjit Chatterjee) could finally get time out for his family (including wife Divya Dutta) and bring his contacts to something really useful by getting all clearances on time.
It is the coming together of many such characters that makes Traffic an engaging watch, especially in the second half. Frankly though, the first 30-35 minutes are patchy, to put it politely. One would have expected the drama to kick-start moments into the film. However, (Late) director Rajesh Pillai spends so much time in introduction each of the aforementioned characters that one tends to get a lot impatient. A needless love story, some unnecessary scenes, a few depressing moments in the hospital, many shots of endless tears give Traffic a TV serial feel which makes one wonder when would the thrill element begin.
Thankfully, the introduction of Jimmy Sheirgill changes it all. The man has a tendency to own the screen whenever he steps in and Traffic is no different as he immediately commands his presence. His frustration over the assignment dumped on him and the conversation that follows with Vikram Gokhale is wonderful. Soon enough, Manoj Bajpayee comes into the scene and from here on, the interaction between the two takes the film to an altogether different level. The momentum starts picking up and the interval point is well laid out too.
The second half doesn’t allow you to blink at all and the action that unfolds on the road is quite engaging. In fact, the tangential episode around Parambrata is quite interesting and brings in the much-needed twist in the tale. What follows from here, especially when the action moves to Pune in a Muslim colony, is simply excellent. Full marks to the editing team here which makes this a nail biting ride with an edge of the seat narrative.
How one wishes though that there were a few more scenes thrown in that would have brought out the acting talent of Manoj Bajpayee. He is mostly behind the wheels in the film due to which there aren’t many dialogues that he gets to mouth. On the other hand another senior actor, Prosenjit, is a disappointment as he neither has the aura of a superstar nor does he act it out well effectively. Someone like Anil Kapoor would have been brilliant in this part. That said, amongst the younger lot, Amol Parashar manages to leave a mark.
Give it a watch for an exciting second half.