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House Arrest Is A Disgrace From Netflix

Ali Fazal and Shriya Pilgaonkar

House Arrest (Netflix)

Starring Ali Fazal, Shriya Palgaonkar, Jim Sarbh

Directed  by  Shashanka  Ghosh, Samit Basu

Rating: * ½ (one  and a  half stars)

Ali Fazal is an affable actor.  He  brings a  certain charm,reminiscent  of Shashi  Kapoor, into all  his roles. But  how much charm  can you bring  into  a cheerless sullen role  of a man who suffers  from  a  serious  social disorder which  prevents him from stepping out of his  home.And then you have  Jim Sarbh  as  your  best friend.Why would you want  to  go out?

The last time I heard about someone  staying  home indefinitely,  it  happened to Parveen  Babi  and she was  declared  schizophrenic.  In  House Arrest they have a fancy Japanese term  for Ali’s character’s  clinical  condition. They call it  hikikomori.

Very impressive. If only the  scriptwriters had not stopped being creative after  finding  a fancy designer-disease  for the protagonist.  The  crux of  the film is so  vapid  and  the  narrative assembled with such haphazardness  I wondered  if Netflix  wants to portray India as a country of cine-retards  by giving films  such as  these a global platform.

 I shudder  to think what  film-goers in Mexico or Guyana would think of us  after watching  House Arrest , or Netflix’s previous ‘monsterpiece’  Driver. It’s hard to decide which  of  the two is  worse. But yes, the plot, the  spoken lines and  the  final  outcome  are far more depressing in  House Arrest .At several points , the  narration  gets so jumpy that  it almost seems  like the  film is  hellbent  on shooting itself in the foot.

The plot has  the  ambitions of a  Guy Ritchie  heist drama  welded  into a psycho-traumatic tale of a man who  just wants  to  stay home.Probably  to  watch  Netflix, who knows?! Clarity  of vision is  an unknown quality  in this  muddled  atrocity. Characters  drop in on the  self-arrested  protagonist  to further  the plot. A  mysterious  bag shows up,and so does a  love interest(Shriya Pilgaonkar) who seems clueless as  to what she  is  supposed  to be doing in a plot that  runs around in circles  with infuriating  impunity.

It is  surprising  that the  film boasts  of two directors(one of whom Shashanka Ghosh has directed Sonam Kapoor in a couple  of  watchable  feature films). There is no  evidence  of any directorial intervention here. As  for  Ali Fazal’s Karan’s medical condition,making   the character watch House Arrest is  recommended as  a  cure.Home  entertainment of this  low-level  variety is incentive  enough to step out.

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