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LOCK (Punjabi) - An appreciable attempt from an honest & bold director who wished to break the set pattern of comedies but couldn't due to his evident limitations of a big star, producers and the fear of conservative Punjabi audience. (Review By Bobby Sing)
14 Oct, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / L

Hearing the news of writer-actor-director Smeep Kang going for the bold remake of Malayalam film SHUTTER (2012) titled as LOCK excited me a lot for two major reasons.
One – As I had already seen SHUTTER including it in the Movies To See Before You Die list at BTC. So a Punjabi remake of such an intense and innovative film was certainly a great news.
Two – As I always knew Smeep strongly wished to come out of his monotonous run of comedy films since long and had all the capabilities of making a fine Punjabi version of the exceptional SHUTTER.
However along with the confidence, I also had the doubts that,
Who will let him do that in the ‘exact extreme’ or ‘at your face’ manner in Punjabi Cinema?
Who will let him make it as a dark, bold and thought provoking thriller like SHUTTER? and
Who will back it as a project without any songs and romantic angle with no female lead or any positive hero as such?
Unfortunately my doubts won over the confidence I had in the talented director, which eventually forced him to deliver a film that can surely be called an appreciable, distinctive attempt by an honest director, but certainly not anything highly insightful or thought provoking missing the depth, emotion and realistic feel of its Malayalam original.
So LOCK is a fine and well intentioned attempt that is sure to surprise the Punjabi viewers a lot who haven’t seen the original. But the film is not any great remake to be precise, due to many evident reasons related to the Punjabi film industry, its financiers (producers), the dependence on ‘big star names’ and fear of rejection from the audience taking them as granted (not willing or receptive of any kind of intense or dark cinema).
Having said that, I would not like to blame Smeep Kang for this ‘extremely toned down’, ‘sweet sounding film’, not very far away from a subtle comedy as many might like to call it. Since it’s not the director’s fault in any way, visible on the screen right from the opening credits to the final scroll having two ‘must-have’ promotional songs affecting the overall feel.
In fact LOCK can easily be considered as a clear example of a project where the director was not allowed to do what he wished to do with his subject and the film was exactly made to sweetly please the audience instead of rudely shocking them.
In other words, such films and subjects revolving around male dominance in a family, social double standards regarding sexual relationships, indulgence in paid sex by married men and a long night spent with a hooker, actually work when made with a strong penetrating vision using the right kind of realistic expressions, casting and more importantly dialogues or language making an instant connect with the viewers reminding them of their own personal situations and experiences.
However in LOCK everything gets presented in an overly ‘sugar-coated’ form displaying the fear of failure, and that’s exactly where the spirit of original SHUTTER gets mercilessly murdered on the screen in my personal opinion.
Putting it differently as water needs a certain temperature to boil, films like LOCK also need to reach a specific cinematic temperature to make that desired solid impact on the viewers, forcing them to sit back and think about the unpredictable situations. And just like the water fails to boil before that required temperature, a LOCK also doesn’t work without offering the required amount of suspense, tension and guilt to its interested viewers.
For instance, the soul of LOCK gets deeply wounded when the makers try to adjust a young budding artist with a college fest song in its very first scene.
It gets brutally affected when a leading star of the industry Gippy Grewal is somehow fitted in the narration to add some value to the project, overacting in his elaborate scenes of a drunkard, cheating the viewers who assumed him to be the hero (in absence of any clear clarifications made in the promotion).
The film fails to make the desired impact because of the wrong casting of Geeta Basra as the sex-worker (again to bring in some star value), when she neither looks nor behaves or speaks like her character even once in the entire film.

But above all the spirit of LOCK never finds its right, inspiring mood because of its typical comic background score which keeps distracting the viewers throughout, giving them false suggestions of some kind of COMEDY surely coming in the next sequences. And they all keep waiting for the same quite desperately.
In short such innovative, unconventional and dark films essentially need to build a tense atmosphere preparing the audience for its unexpectedly daring sequences. But LOCK strangely maintains a very light, comical and cool environment during its entire two hours of duration killing the actual soul of its theme, turning the film into ‘a mild entertainer’ instead of ‘a serious social shocker’ quite sadly. Probably that’s the reason why even the strong finale dialogue between the father and his young daughter also fails to make any significant impact.
Nevertheless, I will still like to praise this brave effort made by director Smeep Kang, as there are not many in the Punjabi film industry who have both the courage and the understanding of selecting such tough original subject revolving around SEX, for their crucial Punjabi remake. Besides, acting in it too doing the most difficult role of them all impressively, certainly deserves to be supported and applauded wholeheartedly. (Incidentally I still remember how we all immensely enjoyed Smeep’s lead performance in Jaspal Bhatti’s MAHAUL THEEK HAI in the late-90s resembling Sunny Deol and singing “Aiven Hass Ke Na Saade Val Takk Ni”.)
Would also like to praise Gippy Grewal, for supporting the project despite its strong, unusual and dicey subject, far ahead than what’s being currently made in Punjabi Cinema. (though I strongly believe he should have just helped as a facilitator avoiding the cameo role)
But along with this praise, I would strongly like to raise an alarm for all the energetic but half-courageous producers too conveying the fact that even a talented director cannot make any kind of shocking, thought provoking cinema with so many fears, apprehensions or imaginary constraints haunting all over his mind.
If you wish such path-breaking films to be made in Punjabi cinema then you need to place your complete confidence in a director like Smeep Kang giving him unconditional freedom to play his mind-games on the screen, but cannot expect him to deliver ‘some great cinema’ by forcing him to include 3 songs, a budding singer, many comedy dialogues and even ‘paid sex’ shown in such conservative ‘sweet’ manner in a subject like LOCK.
In indicative words, a prostitute needs to look, walk and talk like a prostitute and not like any homely, politely speaking lady waiting for her client in the night hours, just because you have signed a known (reputed) name for the specific role and don’t feel like offending someone with any realistic portrayal.
Hence, please do continue making such significant attempts to change the present sick-stinking scenario of Punjabi cinema. But in the process, stop killing your director’s creative mind putting him in a vicious circle of ‘mostly silly restrictions’ fearing the audience rejection.             
Please STOP doing this SIN if you really wish your cinema and audience to grow together.
Rating : 2.5 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for the courage of director Smeep Kang for daringly making a remake of the unpleasant but worth watching original SHUTTER.)

NOTE:

For friends interested in reading the BTC write-up on the Malayalam SHUTTER, here is the link:

http://www.bobbytalkscinema.com/recentpost.php?postid=postid101316015855

Tags : Lock (Punjabi) Review by Bobby Sing, LOCK Film Review by Bobby Sing, Rare Punjabi Remake of Malayalam Film, SHUTTER Remake in Punjabi as LOCK, Official Punjabi Remakes of South Malayalam films, New Films reviewed at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Film Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
14 Oct 2016 / Comment ( 0 )
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