Sujit Sen, the talented script writer has come up with a fine black comedy Staying Alive, which borrows from real life.
Staying Alive is based on a true story of a journalist Aditya (Anant Mahadevan) whose third heart attack sends him to the intensive cardiac care at a hospital. On the neighboring bed is an underworld kingpin, Shaukat Ali (Saurabh Shukla) whose love of kebabs has led him to his first heart attack.
Aditya is a newspaper sub-editor while Shaukat Ali is a hardened gangster and ironically it is Shaukat who is petrified of dying, while Aditya scoffs at death.
The “seasoned” Aditya scoffs at death whereas newcomer to-heart-ailments Shaukat is petrified. The two unlikely hospital inmates strike a love-hate relationship with Aditya relaying a few truths about life to Shaukat. Shaukat appreciates the joy of staying alive even in a life deprived of kebabs.
Slowly and progressively, Aditya ends up changing Shaukat’s outlook towards life. As the gangster raves and rants through his stay in the hospital ward, it gradually dawns upon him that scribe was right and the greatest feeling in life is, simply, to be alive.
All along, the two wives are drawn together by the life threatening state of their respective spouses. On being discharged, Shaukat has a change of heart. He reforms, seeking a decent life.
The climax of Staying Alive deals with life as it unfolds for a man from the wrong side of the law trying to set things right…will he or wont he succeed?
Finally, Shaukat decides to turn a new leaf as he is discharged from the hospital. He even turns into an informer for the police, but the underworld rivals decimate him for having a change of heart.
This black comedy is all about being grateful at the joy of just staying alive.
It is a different film which is shot almost entirely start to end in the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit. It has some impressive moments and the narration goes back and forth a couple of times.
Staying Alive has natural performances by Saurabh Shukla and Ananth Mahadevan. Navni Parihar delivers a superb performance, while Sunita Chhaya is too good in those emotional moments.
Chandan Roy Sanyal and Khan Jahangir Khan, as the rival gangster and Sanjay Swaraj as the doctor are just okay.
Staying Alive is an experimental film which would appeal only a certain class of cine audiences.
Cast of Staying Alive:
Anant Mahadevan – Aditya
Saurabh Shukla – Shaukat Ali
Sanjay Swaraj – Doctor
Khan Jahangir Khan as the Gangster
Credits & Crew of Staying Alive:
Banner – Shemaroo Entertainment
Producer – Pulakesh Bhowmik
Director – Anant Mahadevan
Music Director- Sanjay Chowdhury
Screenplay – Sujit Sen
Staying Alive – movie review