fbpx

REVIEW: The Illegal (Amazon Prime)

By VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

You’d think you have seen this before. A young boy from middle-class India lands in the United States chasing a dream, and his struggle for sustenance becomes a portrait of the grind that almost every immigrant must endure.

AT A GLANCE

  • Starring: Suraj Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Adil Hussain, Neelima Azim, Iqbal Theba, Hannah Masi, Jay Ali
  • Directed by: Danish Renzu
  • Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)
- Advertisement -

If Danish Renzu’s film is outstanding despite the note of familiarity, it is because of the sheer authenticity with which the writer-director tells his tale. The film is unflinching in tone, yet sensitive enough while dissecting the reality it presents. Renzu uses his crisp runtime of 86 minutes well, to set up nuanced storytelling.

Unlike most films pertaining to the subject, The Illegal is not about immigrants who enter the US unlawfully. It is about people who come in with legitimate papers, yet are forced by circumstances to survive as if their presence is illegal.

READ ALSO: Review: Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar

Life Of Pi actor Suraj Sharma plays Hassan Ahmed, who is one such character. Hassan’s passion for filmmaking is destined to take him from Purani Dilli to Los Angeles. He gets admission at film school in the US, so his father (Adil Hussain) takes a loan to fund his dream.

Renzu sets an endearing picture of the family in the opening minutes, as Hassan records a few parting words from his father, mother (Neelima Azim) and sister Mahi (Shweta Tripathi). He needs such a clip, he tells them, as a pep pill for the days when he might be “ready to give up”. It is a fine sequence, deftly executed, rendering a personal touch to the way the protagonist is imagined. The screenplay sustains that whiff of intimacy as it follows Hassan to America.

Source: IANS

Before entering films, Renzu spent time in the US studying electrical engineering at UCLA, and he also holds a UCLA Writers’ Program certification in screenwriting. Thematically, he would have drawn from real instances that he may have encountered during that stint as a student. It would have let him create Hassan with greater assuredness.

Hassan’s existence in the US becomes a picture of irony. On the one hand, he is doing well in film school. Yet, there is trouble back home financially, owing to a down turn in his father’s health. His plans to stay at his maternal uncle’s home in the US come to nought, and Hassan must take up the job of a waiter.

Renzu uses Hassan’s dual life well, to portray two sides of an immigrant’s existence in the US. On one hand, he is impressively learning his ropes in the world of American cinema, which has lately conversed with great relish about inclusivity. Yet, moonlighting at an Indian restaurant as a waiter throws up a dreary, diametrically opposite picture of exploitation. The essence of the film lies in that dichotomy.

It is Suraj Sharma’s film all through, and the actor does impressively to bring alive Hassan, although you would spot a few winning performances among the prop cast, too. Iqbal Theba leaves an impact as the restaurant supervisor fondly called Babaji by his colleagues. Adil Hussain, Shweta Tripathi and Neelima Azim actually get minimal footage, but leave a mark.

The Illegal is well-scripted, executed and acted out. It is a small film that scores big.

IANS

READ ALSO: Review: Mumbai Saga


Link up with us!

Indian Link News website: Save our website as a bookmark

Indian Link E-NewsletterSubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter

Indian Link Newspaper: Click here to read our e-paper

Indian Link app: Download our app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and subscribe to the alerts

Facebookfacebook.com/IndianLinkAustralia

Twitter: @indian_link

Instagram: @indianlink

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/IndianLinkMediaGroup

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

REVIEW: Antim – The Final Truth

0
  Director Mahesh Manjrekar's Antim: The Final Truth is a crime drama centred around the circle of fate. Based on the Marathi film Mulshi Pattern,...

The religious discrimination bill will make LGBTIQ+ Australians sick

0
  The Morrison government’s religious discrimination bill was introduced to parliament on Thursday. The bill, now on its third draft, has been a contentious piece of...
ICC T20 WC 2021 delivers record viewership. Pictured here, Indian team captain Virat Kohli with Pakistani team captain Babbar Azam and opener Mohammad Rizwan. Source: IANS

WC 2021: India-Pak match becomes most watched T20I in history

0
  With nearly 10,000 hours of live coverage across TV and digital platforms in 200 countries, the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup delivered a...
jango film

Film Review: Jango

0
  Claimed to be India's first time loop film, Jango is a brave attempt at storytelling. Choosing to make a film knowing fully well that...

REVIEW: Sabhaapathy

0
  Director R. Srinivasa Rao's 'Sabhaapathy' is a light-hearted entertainer that, despite its flaws, just about works. AT A GLANCE Starring: Santhanam, M.S. Baskar, Preeti Verma,...