The Illegal review

The Illegal is a good watch for those who still believe in the American dream in a Make-in-India present, assures Moumita Bhattacharjee.

The Illegal has made the rounds of international film festivals and debuted at the 2019 Austin Film Festival.

It was also screened at the MAMI Film Festival, so acclaim comes attached with this Danish Renzu offering.

It’s a superlative example of how the done and dusted theme of the American dream going wrong can be presented with a fresh perspective.

Haasan (Suraj Sharma) an aspiring film-maker, who cracked a prestigious director’s programme at a film school in Los Angeles, sets out to realise his dreams in America.

His parents, played by Adil Hussain and Neelima Azim, are supportive enough and believe in him.

But his biggest cheerleader is his sister Mahi (Shweta Tripathi).

Haasan’s first day in LA wasn’t as exciting as his gleeful pose in front of the immigration office camera.

His uncle, who was supposed to host him, decides to abandon him because his wife feels there isn’t enough space at home.

Haasan then meets Babaji (Iqbal Thepa), who helps in getting a place to stay and a job at the New Delhi Cafe.

But work and passion often overlap and threaten to derail everything he was in LA for.

Now, a movie on how the American Dream is a myth has been watched often. Perhaps with the motive to tell everyone not all dreams become reality.

In fact, Suraj Sharma was part of a similar setup in Umrika, where his brother chases the same dream and fails.

Here, Suraj is working hard towards it.

Even our overlyexaggerated and melodramatic movies like Aa Ab Laut Chalein or Out Of Control had similar themes.

Where Director Danish Renzu scores is the bid to tell the story of a lot of immigrants through Haasan.

Everyone working at the New York Cafe has their own story of sorrow and helplessness, which keeps them from going back to their countries.

You feel the pain, the grief and the frustration of not making it happen.

So the film may not be a treat as a whole, but it definitely shines in many moments.

That also one of the reasons this movie might underscore with a few audiences.

We are all aware of how going to a foreign land is fraught with unknown dangers.

Our movies have depicted it enough, so the premise doesn’t sound as exciting.

That’s probably the only drawback the movie had.

Suraj Sharma is brilliant.

He is perfectly naive, innocent and resilient as Haasan.

He blends with the character so well that you wouldn’t be able to differentiate their personalities.

Also, he has a very affable and pleasing screen presence which makes it a treat to watch him.

Shweta Tripathi may have a small role, but she excels in it.

Jay Ali, as the shrewd and manipulative owner of the New Delhi Cafe, is fascinating. He is the perfect wild contrast to this mild movie with tamer emotions.

The Illegal is a good watch for those who still believe in the American dream in a Make-in-India present.

The Illegal streams on Amazon Prime Video.

 

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