“12th Fail” Movie Review: A Medley of Promise Hindered by Pacing and Screenplay Woes

Vidhu Vinod Chopra's "12th Fail" is a film that grapples with the challenge of meeting contemporary audience expectations.

Maheswara Rao Nadella | Published On: Oct, 27, 2023 | 11:18 AM

“12th Fail” Movie Review: A Medley of Promise Hindered by Pacing and Screenplay Woes

Vidhu Vinod Chopra‘s “12th Fail” is a film that grapples with the challenge of meeting contemporary audience expectations, struggling to find its footing amidst the demands of a fast-paced cinematic landscape. As a tale that aims to encapsulate the journey of its protagonist, Manoj Kumar Sharma, portrayed with depth and vulnerability by Vikrant Massey, the film oscillates between moments of promise and narrative stumbling blocks, ultimately leaving viewers with a mixed cinematic experience.

While the film’s premise sets the stage for an engaging narrative centred around Manoj’s relentless pursuit to clear the UPSC exam and become an IAS officer, the execution falls short of creating a cohesive and immersive storytelling experience. The film’s pacing issues and convoluted screenplay detract from its central narrative, resulting in a disjointed and overextended cinematic journey that fails to fully resonate with audiences.

“12th Fail” struggles to strike a balance between establishing its protagonist’s background and delving into the intricacies of his character. The initial scenes focused on Manoj’s upbringing in Chambal and his pursuit of ethical values despite a corrupt environment, fail to seamlessly transition into the heart of the narrative, leading to a disjointed and meandering storyline. Despite the film’s attempt to infuse freshness through its novel screenplay, the abundance of subplots and events that lack substantial depth dilute the impact of the central plot, leaving the audience longing for a more focused and compelling storytelling approach.

While the film attempts to capture the essence of Mukherjee Nagar with nuanced cinematography by Rangarajan Ramabadran, the screenplay’s verbosity and lacklustre execution hinder the narrative’s ability to fully engage the audience. The inclusion of preachy dialogues and a lack of impactful musical compositions further contribute to the film’s inability to create a lasting impression, overshadowing the commendable performances delivered by the cast.

Vikrant Massey’s portrayal of Manoj stands out as a testament to his acting prowess, infusing the character with a rare blend of vulnerability and determination. However, even Massey’s stellar performance struggles to elevate the film beyond its screenplay limitations, leaving his efforts somewhat diluted in the face of narrative inconsistencies. Medha Shankar’s confident debut as Shraddha and the genuine chemistry shared with Massey’s character provide fleeting moments of authenticity, albeit within the confines of an underdeveloped love story.

Despite the film’s thematic potential and the commendable efforts of the cast, “12th Fail” falls short of delivering a cohesive and immersive cinematic experience, hindered by pacing issues and an underwhelming screenplay. While Chopra’s directorial endeavors have previously showcased his ability to weave intricate narratives with social relevance, “12th Fail” fails to live up to the expectations, missing the mark and leaving audiences yearning for a more nuanced and compelling storytelling approach. As audiences evolve, the need for nuanced narratives has become paramount, underscoring the necessity for a more engaging and resonant cinematic experience in an ever-changing landscape.

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