Two cops pitted against each other is not entirely new, nor are encounters, good cop and bad cop or the socio economic political scenario of the country. Maximum is a direct take on Mumbai Police, especially on the cops entrusted with the job of encounters. The job may sound fun and glamorous to the ordinary citizens but the tragedy is that the encounter specialists are as stashed in blood as the criminals themselves. Maximum is a term that not only symbolizes or explains the state of affairs in the film’s story and in the lives of the characters but also speaks of the backdrop which is our beloved maximum city – Mumbai.
Pratap (Sonu Sood) plays a tough cop who speaks less, shows less but shoots more. He is equally corrupt as his predecessor or senior Arun (Naseeruddin Shah) but Pratap makes more money than Arun, courtesy the haftas and all the extortion, protection and bla-bla money from here and there, actually from everywhere. Arun is an out rightly corrupt cop and so is Pratap. Pratap tries to be an ideal father to his daughter and although he may look like a decent husband (to Neha Dhupia) yet he has another love interest (played by Anjana Sukhani). The reality is that everyone in Maximum is grey and no one can be trusted at all.
Pratap and Arun are pitted against each other for a fight to supremacy and the entire crux of the story is just about that. There are numerous resonances of present day political scenario (Vinay Pathak playing a politician from UP) and also the world of journalism (by Amit) but the glimpses of 26/11 incidents in the print media and countless references to the life of a cop in the dark bad world cannot save this film from being an outright disaster.
Maximum has a very nice premise, a very able director, Kabeer Kaushik of ‘Saher’ fame and one legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah. Not to forget the prolific actors Sonu Sood, Neha Dhupia, Vinay Pathak among other supporting cast members. The film also boasts of some amazing background score and some scenes (rather frames) are brilliant, catch the sequence where at the backdrop of a flight taking off Pratap shoots a man. However, none of the ingredients can cook a nice supper here.
Maximum struggles on various grounds. The film tries to be too serious, so serious that there is no humor at all. People who perhaps would not be capable of wording a national poet, quotes Shakespeare to a very pathetic effect. The actors blurt out lines as if they have run out on energy and need some Red Bull. The script takes the audience right to the center of action without any introduction, assuming that the audience is intelligent enough, but when you do so there is a need to satiate the intelligent crowd. Sadly, with all its hullaballoo and shots being fired in haywire, Maximum is only a distant cousin of Saher and a rather poor one.