The Beginning 

The movie begins with the lead character Shaurya, attempting to ask out his crush and co-worker, Noorie. The architectural background remains blurred but the rows of workstations, artificial lighting, a maroon-colored false ceiling, glass doors that are partly covered with films to maintain privacy within the cabins, create the ambiance of a typical office. The camera primarily focuses on Shaurya in relation to the environment- depicting the beauty of connection in times of disconnection between humans in today’s times. 

Simple instances of the Mumbai lifestyle, like eating their favorite food at a lahri, or talking in the storage room of their office with inadequate lighting, traveling in a taxi with open windows to let in the sea breeze, or sneakily holding hands in a local train, walking on Marine drive, are used to depict how when you are bonding with someone over conversations that matter, the surrounding space hardly matters. 

The 1BHK apartment that Shaurya lives in, is a cramped-up space that he shares with four other flatmates. It is placed in an old worn-off building, where clothes hang in the corridors from the service pipes running in open ceilings, and light comes in through the windows that punctuate the long linear walls at regular intervals. In a brief moment of urgency, Shaurya decides to buy a new apartment where they can start a life together. 

An architectural review of Trapped - Sheet1
The blurred background with focus on Shaurya and Noorie in Trapped_© mail.floridawishesh.com/bollywood/bollywood-movie-reviews/60684-trapped-movie-review.html

The Storyline

This moment marks the beginning of Shaurya’s restless ride to find a home in Mumbai with a limited budget and a fixed time frame. After multiple attempts of desperately pleading with the brokers to help him out, he is approached by someone who takes him to see an apartment which he assures has water, electricity, TV, fridge, and an AC, but isn’t occupied yet. 

This gives an idea about the impact a building can leave on our minds. If the same tall building that looked unfinished and abandoned had been completed and occupied by residents, it would feel safe and homely. Here the role of design and architecture lies in taking the user’s emotions and needs into consideration and not only providing the necessary services and facilities. However, it doesn’t mean that they are any less important- as we see when the movie progresses further.

The 2BHK apartment on the 35th floor comprises a hall where sunlight comes in through the large French window and a standing balcony that looks like a cage due to the bars running on all three sides which is a necessity for safety at such heights. A wooden partition door divides the kitchen from the passage that leads into the bedrooms, out of which only one has an attached bathroom. The other bathroom is for common use.

The director manages to capture Shaurya’s feeling as he moves through the apartment, quietly as though imagining what it would be like when he moves in together with Noorie. 

The contrast between the massive scale of this abandoned highrise building against this small apartment is distinctly shown owing to the expertise of the videographer who first shows Shaurya looking up at the flat from ground level. Later, once he is inside the apartment, you realize its volume and scale. 

The low lighting in the scenes where he shifts to the new apartment at night seems apt for the sense of intrigue that is meant to create because of what follows next. 

An architectural review of Trapped - Sheet2
Shaurya looking out of the barred window_©www.bollywoodhungama.com/movie/trapped-2

The Twist in the Story 

Imagine that you are finally hopeful to start a life with someone you love and feel like everything has fallen in place and one small mistake changes everything forever. That’s what happens with Shaurya- in a moment of rush he leaves the key hanging on the door of the apartment and it closes due to the wind coming in from the opposite direction. He gets trapped in the apartment without electricity, water, food, and battery in his phone. The rest of the movie is an adventure that Shaurya certainly didn’t sign up for. 

It cleverly depicts the idea of survival of the fittest as Shaurya uses unique methods to call for attention, though it all goes in vain. It is seen through the way life around him keeps going. 

The Irony

Several instances depict the irony of his situation in the movie. 

A city like Mumbai can most aptly be described as a “flood of people” and yet there’s a stark disconnection between them and what is happening around them. 

The house that gave him hope for a better future has now become a place that changed the entire course of his future life by trapping him inside. 

The place that would have helped him and Noorie escape from the outer world, became the place he needed to escape from.

An architectural review of Trapped - Sheet3
Shaurya makes the word HELP with his clothes and burns them, but fails to catch attention of anyone around_©thecinemaholic.com/best-rajkumar-rao-movies/

The color palette 

The use of colors in different scenes plays an important role in setting the tone of the movie. For example, a red backdrop is used when the conversation happening between Shaurya and Noorie has a sense of uncertainty, or the blue-colored wall in the apartment which gives it a breezy and calm feel, fails to help the person trapped within it. The gloominess is further enhanced by the using hues of grey, blue, and black. 

Light and Shadow 

The importance of natural light is realized throughout the movie. If it wasn’t for the full-height window in the hall or the rooms, the entire apartment would feel even more suffocating, dark, and scary. The camera majorly relies on sunlight to capture what is going inside the flat. It captures how the days pass, and Shaurya’s routine becomes monotonous. As a viewer, you become attuned to the idea that as the day begins, a new adventure awaits for Shaurya who soon starts becoming unpredictable in his actions. 

The Sound Effects 

The background score is significant throughout the movie as well. For example, it sometimes follows the same rhythm as the lights on the lahri or it gets amplified and portrays a rising feeling of joy and hope when Shaurya moves into his new apartment and fixes the chandelier.

The noises we listen to in everyday life around us, like the whistle of a cooker, or the distant honking of cars on roads, the movement of vehicles, the sound of the lift, the faint chirping of birds, the sound of opening a heavy door, are integrated and well portrayed. It is kept raw and unfiltered so that it feels life-like. 

The echoes, the sounds of the unused doors and windows, the dustiness of the floors succeed in capturing the essence of an empty apartment.

Moreover, during the dialogue happening between any two people on screen, there are hardly any interruptions to make sure that the focus remains on the conversation and is heard clearly. 

An architectural review of Trapped - Sheet4
Shaurya attempting to open the door of his apartment_©www.filmcompanion.in/readers-articles/rachit-raj-3/

Trapped shows how the space around us, no matter how well-designed it may be, without the basic facilities and infrastructure, can be deemed to be quite useless in times of emergency. It isn’t just about being on the 35th floor with good ventilation and light coming in from huge windows that make one feel free from the outside world. 

An empty apartment becomes a home with the right elements that make it a comfortable place to live in. If the same apartment had adequate artificial and natural lighting, good furniture, proper supply of water, maybe some indoor plants, photo frames or artworks hung on the walls- things that instigate emotions and make us think clearly, it could have felt more liveable. Even a home can feel like hell under such unexpected circumstances. 

Trapped also makes one understand the importance of connection and communication. This movie leaves us feeling a mix of emotions. It makes one aware of the importance of being present in the moment and acting on our instincts- most of all it’s about believing in our abilities to watch out for ourselves when the time comes. 

Want to know how the movie ends? Watch it! It’s worth it. 

References: 

Images: 

  1. www.floridawishesh.com. (n.d.). Trapped Movie Review and Rating | Story Analysis. [online] Available at:https://mail.floridawishesh.com/bollywood/bollywood-movie-reviews/60684-trapped-movie-review.html  [Accessed 28 Feb. 2022].
  2. Hungama, B. (n.d.). Trapped Movie: Review | Release Date | Songs | Music | Images | Official Trailers | Videos | Photos | News – Bollywood Hungama. [online] Available at: https://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movie/trapped-2/  [Accessed 11 Feb. 2022].
  3. Srivastav, A. (2018). Is Rajkumar Rao the Next Aamir Khan? These 10 Movies Prove He Might Be. [online] The Cinemaholic. Available at: https://thecinemaholic.com/best-rajkumar-rao-movies/.  [Accessed 28 Feb. 2022].
  4. Raj, R. (2020). Optimism in Trapped: An Examination of Isolation. [online] Film Companion. Available at: https://www.filmcompanion.in/readers-articles/rachit-raj-3/  [Accessed 28 Feb. 2022].
Author

Shaymi Shah is a published author and an architectural content writer by profession. Through keen observation about architecture and life around her, she weaves narratives through her writing as she wants to make people, even outside the fraternity, realize the importance and fundamental need of design in our daily lives.

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