Prepare to be frustrated while watching the survivor thriller Trapped. But the clenching of your jaws and racing of your heart isn’t of the bad kind. The situation? Actor Rajkumar Rao, who plays the unassuming Mumbai resident Shaurya, gets stuck in an apartment in the bustling metropolis without water, food and electricity.
It’s a visceral experience to watch him go through the motions of surviving that harrowing ordeal. Rao is compelling as Shaurya. When he screams for help until he goes hoarse and inflicts wounds on his hands to draw blood so that he can create a ‘help’ placard, Rao’s magnetic screen presence keeps us hooked.
He isn’t gifted with any superpowers, which are usually strung to a Bollywood hero. He’s the kind of regular guy who has an irrational fear of rats and isn’t overly confident about seeking a date with a woman that he fancies at this workplace. Director Vikramaditya Motwane stays true to his lead character from the start to the finish. Perhaps, that’s one of the strengths of this man-against-nature tale.
In this taut thriller, all of 105 minutes, Rao doesn’t hesitate in getting down and dirty. The scene in which he considers the morbid thought of drinking water from the toilet bowl highlights his degraded existence. Rao, who won the national award for Shahid, doesn’t hesitate to throw himself into the role. It’s almost like he knows that it’s a role of a lifetime because he’s there in every frame. An actor of lesser stature would have crumbled under this kind of pressure, but not Rao. He owns it from the word go and has enough magnetism to keep us engaged.
The scene in which he has a conversation with a rodent, his new companion, is laced with humour, too. Getting stuck in an apartment is a morbid scenario, but there’s also an element of optimism that’s weaved into this drama.
One of my favourite bits was a subtle comment on how urbane society functions. Are we becoming de-sensitised to others’ cry for help or are we just conditioned now to mind our own business are some of the questions that this film will throw up.
There are no visual reliefs such as songs or laugh out loud humour to break the momentum of the film. And that’s a good thing. Rao breaking out into a song with his lover would have stuck out like a sore thumb. All the action is contained to the confines of a small apartment, but it’s not claustrophobic for the viewer. At some point, they may feel as if they are “rubbernecking” to see a bloody road accident while driving past it or even feel guilty for that voyeuristic delight evoked after seeing Shaurya’s fight to survive.
Gitanjali Thapa, from Sikkim, who plays the love of his life does her bit in the small role. But the scope of her role is limited.
If you are in the mood for a no-frills thriller, then be sure to give Rao’s Trapped a shot. You will not feel like you are caught in a terrible movie.
Rajkumar Rao and Gitanjali Thapa
GN Rating out of 5 stars: