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Buddha in a Traffic Jam – Movie Review

Buddha in a Traffic Jam – Movie Review

Too many issues to deal in a politically driven movie heading it nowhere 

This Friday, you have a couple of movies releasing, which include the autobiographical film based on the life of a popular filmmaker – Vivek Agnihotri called Buddha in a Traffic Jam. The film is based on true life incidents along with adding the contemporary issues in it. The film has Arunoday Singh, Pallavi Joshi, Anupam Kher, Anchal Dwivedi and Mahie Gill in the lead roles. The film deals with various issues pertaining to corruption, college politics, crony socialism, moral policing and the aspirational India, which is willing to wipe out the middlemen. It inquires deep over the relevance of capitalism and socialism in a corruption and poverty ridden country keen to be a superpower. This film has been screened at prestigious film festivals including the Mumbai International Film Festival in 2014 seeking a standing ovation and rave reviews. The film has also given awards to the actors in the film including Pallavi Joshi getting the best actress at Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, Mahie Gill getting an award at Madrid Film Festival in Spain and the best director award at the Jakarta Film Festival for Vivek Agnihotri.


Meet Vikram Pandit played by Arunoday Singh who is a happy-go-lucky B School student in India. One day he embarks with a social media campaign against the issue of moral policing in India. The campaign becomes successful and he becomes a successful being unaware of the danger lurking in his coming times, he is seen getting entangled in between the two faces of India – Capitalism and Socialism, the duo, which are deeply rooted in our country in different places. Vikram exposes the conspirators of jungles who are willing to damage the civil society. The movie simply revolves the survival of Vikram apart from sorting out the conflicts found in between capitalism and socialism and defines the very much required revolution for the modern India.


The film poster reads Socialism Vs. Capitalism, however, the movie has portrayed more communism than socialism. The director writer – Vivek Agnihotri has tried to touch a number of issues in his movie, which simply showcases the disparity of lives found in between the urban and rural areas like Bastar which is a victim of both state government and Maoist pressure. Taking a top view of the film, we get a feeling that the director aspires to sort out all these issues by involving a number of social ailments like alcoholism, weed smoking, casual sex and social media craziness among the youth. However, the problem in this script is that the director is talking about the IIMS and IIT bred students, who barely know or concerned about what’s going on in our Indian society.

The storytelling format the director has adopted is like a book wherein you find prologue to epilogue and is known to have chapters found in between, which is incredibly interesting. The story has pressured up a number of ironies and drama elements in it apart from getting away from the biases and stereotypes but at the end the writer has concluded with re-rooting them at a couple of junctures. In the first half, the film is busy in preaching about the tribal situations in the country about the gap between the rich and poor that is widening. And lastly it talks about Naxalism to be a bigger issue than Kashmir in the country. In the   second half, you find the script encircling on the aspect of what simply leads people to Naxalism. Lastly in the climax, the director has ended the movie with a quotation of Mao Zedong making the audience confused as to what you are propagating with this.


The actor Arunoday Singh has given a decent performance in the movie by remaining very much faithful to the script at many places, however, when the story fails; his performance too is seen sinking.  Ironically, Anupam Kher who is among the veterans has disgraced with his performance, his performance for being a professor is complexly flawed. Mahie Gill has tried to do justice to her character after all, she was kept to add glamor in the film with her seductress dress and failed sex scenes found in the politically driven movie. Pallavi Joshi has a small screen presence losing her importance soon in the film plot. Lastly talking about Anchal Dwivedi as a college student was the weakest character in the movie, have you noticed her in the bold and drunken girl, well it is nothing but a sheer headache.

Direction, Music and other elements

Vivek has tried to make his film artsy with his story and implementation too.  Well, any of his works along with the plot seems to be a heavy dose of Advil. The film has a couple of songs, which has a contemporary music and so is seen in the film, which is rooted with smartness in the movie. However, talking about the editing, it is carried out in poor fashion as you find at times dubbing overlaying in a shabby fashion. The director has failed to do his homework before uttering words like India needs freedom from things like mediocrity, incompetent and inefficiency. Wish he could had worked hard on his script before uttering such vague things before the media.

Buddha In a Traffic Jam – Last Word

The is film is a politically driven work with too many issues being taken together to end up confusing the audience. Therefore one can call this movie to be a propagandist movie made at the backdrop of a political satire. Unfortunately, the film preaches more to the audience than showing something about the practice. This makes the film drop its rating in many ways.

Rating -2.0

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