Lucknow Central , directed and written (along with Aseem Arora) by Ranjit Tiwari, is one of the September 15 releases. The film tells the story of a few inmates of Lucknow Central Jail who are thrown together by fate, to form a band and impress the audience at an upcoming competition. But it is more than just music that this band will make. The basic idea of Lucknow Central is similar to Habib Faisal’s film Qaidi Band that released last month. I found the film decent, considering that it had debutants Aadar Jain and Anya Singh as leads and a few more new/less popular faces as the support cast. It was a decent attempt about a film on life inside the jail, the legal system and the idea of freedom.

Lucknow Central on the other hand is armed with a stellar cast of Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Ronit Roy, Gippy Grewal, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma and Inaamulhaq. The music has fared well too. That said, does Lucknow Central has anything new to offer or does it leave you with a ‘seen that before’ feeling? Read my review…

What’s It About?
Kishen (Farhan Akhtar) has been harbouring only one dream in his heart – to make his own band. He is on a mission to find avenues to get into a recording studio, where he can make a CD to hand it over to some of the biggest names in the music industry. All his plans come crashing down after he ends up at Lucknow Central Jail, accused of killing an IAS officer. But Gayatri Kashyap (Diana Penty), an NGO worker comes into his life bringing along a ray of hope. She wants to create a band comprising the jail inmates to perform at the August 15th competition. Kishen sees this opportunity as his only chance to create his own band and perform to a live audience. He starts filtering the artistes amongst his fellow jail inmaets. But creating a band is not the only thing on his mind. ‘Plan kuch aur hai’. Together with his band members, Victor (Deepak Dobriyal), Pandit (Rajesh Sharma), Dikkat (Inaamulhaq), Parminder (Gippy Grewal), all of whom bring a unique skill to the table, Kishen hatches a foolproof escape plan. But he and his team has jailor (Ronit Roy) watching their each step. He can already sense that the band members are getting ready for the performance and more.
Do Kishen and his qaidi band members give an awe-inspiring performance and find freedom?

What’s Hot?
The film gets the simple small town setting (Moradabad) and later the well guarded Lucknow Jail on point. The interesting ensemble cast does all in its might to lift up the chamber drama and save the film from being a complete drag affair.

There are a handful of impressive dialogues – a mix of thought provoking and laughter inducing. Ravi Kishen’s character of the Chief Minister takes away the latter ones. He plays his part impeccably and alleviates the film’s graph in his brief screen time. Diana Penty is improving with each film and does a decent job as a determined NGO activist working towards prisoner reformation.

What’s Not?
The plot is simple and follows more or less the pattern of last month’s release, Qaidi Band. And that wouldn’t have been a gripe at all if the story of Lucknow Central didn’t have so many loopholes. Kishen’s character is badly written and it fails to make you feel any of the emotions that he’s going through in the course of the film. Throughout the film, you see him struggle to make his dream come true. But what he finally does when given the chance to attain his goal is not addressed at all. Most members of the strong ensemble cast are wasted, especially Ronit Roy. He plays this strict, menacing jailor who keeps on harping about how Lucknow Central Jail, under him, is so disciplined and hard to break. And yet, he does nothing about the impending jail break that he claims to already know about.

The story is about a musically inclined person who forms a band but there are not enough songs that will leave a mark. No tune from the Lucknow Central band (made up of misfits) is playing in my head right now. Farhan Akhtar, a brilliant actor, is given moments to shine but a weak direction fails to capture the best of him.

Watch the trailer of Lucknow Central below:

What To Do?
If you have watched Qaidi Band, you can skip Lucknow Central. If you haven’t watched Qaidi Band and decide to skip Lucknow Central, you’d not miss much.

Verdict
India.com rating: 2 stars