Farhan Akhtar, who was last seen in 2016 release Rock On 2, has come up with another musical drama Lucknow Central.
However, unlike his previous rock band movie where the team comprised of professional singers, Lucknow Central has a banf which features a group of jail inmates who forms a band within a jail for a competition. But their main motive is to escape to the jail.
Lucknow Central revolves around the story of Kishen Mohan Girhotra (played by Farhan Akhtar), an aspiring singer hailing from Uttar Pradesh, who lands in Lucknow Central Jail based on a false murder accusation and an NGO worker Gayatri Kashyap who is asked to form a band of prisoners for a competition.
Though, the trailer has managed to grab the attention, the plot of Lucknow Central seemed quite similar to recently release Qaidi Band launching Ranbir Kapoor's cousin Armaan Jain.
Here we bring you a quick review about what the leading dailies are sayig about Farhan Akhtar's Lucknow Central.
DNA: Lucknow Central had the potential to become an entertaining film with its realistic premise and eclectic ensemble, but thanks to a weak plot and incoherent direction it fails to connect with you on several levels. Despite a unique take on the story of a prisoner, the film falls flat because it doesn't attempt to do anything different. The supporting characters including Kishan are all stereotypes we have already watched in other films. Diana Penty stands out like the odd man out in this performance heavy cast. The jokes and gags are weak and the focus is more on creating a wave of sympathy for Kishan and his band rather than letting us feel for them organically. Director Ranjit Tiwari feels lost in translation with the kind of film he's set out to make. Post-interval, the story not only gets predictable but the way the climax unfolds just fails to hold any interest for you.
Deccan Chronicle: The best part of Lucknow Central is its unusual storyline that is based on a real story of a band named Healing Hearts. Director Ranjit Tiwari delivers an entertaining film as the first half not only has intriguing back stories of each band member but also highlights the issues faced by the prisoners in the jail like the quality of food they eat to the bitter truth of sexual assault of the prisoners. Second half of the film is a gripping chase of the prisoners by the jail authorities. Despite so many similarities to Qaidi Band, Lucknow Central hold its own space as Ranjit keeps his characters real and relatable. While there have been films like Rock on 2, Aashiqui 2 and Banjo, where music was the backdrop, Lucknow Central has a good treatment but has its own loopholes. Few situations shown in the film are a little too dramatic. Any prisoner for that matter, who is under constant surveillance can't escape in a blink of an eye. Even the plot gets off track at many places. The rivalries between the two prisoner groups is a little too much explored while the basic premise is only about forming a band and escaping from the jail.
Hindustan Times: It’s not just the theme, but Lucknow Central and Qaidi Band bear uncanny resemblance on many levels. Both have almost similar back-stories of the primary characters. The build-up of the characters played by Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma, Gippy Grewal, Innamulhaq and even Farhan Akhtar appear to be following a set pattern. What makes a difference is the acting. While Qaidi Band was an unpolished, mostly clueless story of an attempted jail break, Lucknow Central has a better intensity. You can connect the dots better in Lucknow Central. Then there are the loopholes in the script. Sometimes they forget surnames, other times they wait for the opportune moment without realising it’s already gone. For example, why doesn’t Kishan run away from the Moradabad jail itself rather than waiting to be shifted to Lucknow? The screenplay is not convoluted, but it’s not coherent either. It’s too simple a narrative to capture the audience’s imagination. We always know where it is heading.
Indian Express: A rag-tag band is usually a good device to come up with some standard tropes: a guy who is tone deaf, another who can barely hear a note, and usually, the one who sings like a charm. Here, Grewal is the singer. So is Akhtar, who carries off some ditties in his raspy voice better than the role of a small-town UP-wala itself. But more than anything else, it is the mawkish sentimentality which overcomes the story-telling. When it is not that, then we find our fine conspirators being much too dramatic.