A kidnapped woman fights for her life in the survival thriller Apurva, which is nowhere near as exciting as that summary makes it sound.
Apurva opens not with the title character — played by Tara Sutaria in what is clearly supposed to be her breakout, solo-heroine role — but with her kidnappers: a dull quartet of crude, violent thieves lead by Jugnu (Rajpal Yadav). Sukkha (Abhishek Banerjee) is second in command, with Balli (Sumit Gulati) and Chhota (Aaditya Gupta) rounding out the group. They beat people to death and have literal pissing contests out in the bleak Chambal desert. They’re too cliched to be scary, even though composer Ketan Sodha tries his best to make them seem so with some threatening background music.
After spending too much time with these dullards, we finally meet Apurva. She’s on a bus to Agra to surprise her fiance Sid (Dhairya Karwa) for his birthday. En route, Jugnu & Co kill the bus driver and rob the passengers. Sid calls during the robbery, and Sukkha answers, telling him they’re taking beautiful Apurva with them.
Just in case we doubted whether a man engaged to a woman who cares enough to surprise him for his birthday would actually want her back, we get a flashback and song montage detailing Apurva’s introduction to Sid and their bubbly courtship. With their mutual affection confirmed, we can rest assured that Apurva has a reason to live and that Sid will try to save her.
Thus Apurva endures one of the least-interesting movie kidnappings ever. She spends a good chunk of time knocked out after Chhota slaps her. At one point, an astrologer (Rakesh Chaturvedi Om) randomly wanders into the ruins of the village where they’re holding her, despite it being well off the road and miles from anyplace inhabited.
Things get even sillier when writer-director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat — the filmmaker responsible for last year’s awful movie Hurdang — tries to tie the astrologer’s presence into the plot via a flashback with Sid that only highlights just how illogical his involvement is. Then again, that kind of fits in a movie where I repeatedly yelled at the main character to “just run!” when she was sitting there, waiting for her captors to find her.
Apurva is so insubstantial that there’s little chance for Sutaria to show off any heretofore unseen acting chops. She spends much of the film slowly moving barefoot through the ruins or yelling while lifting heavy objects, despite the fact that there’s nothing around to muffle sounds and her captors would obviously hear her. The thieves are a bunch of hapless jackasses, and Sid isn’t present enough for Karwa to have an impact. If you want to watch a “woman in trouble” film, watch Anushka Sharma in NH10 instead.