Fumbling for psychological realism in its tale of a Kolkata cop whose accidental killing of a child sends his life into a slow tailspin, Hindi indie “Michael” is further hobbled by blotchy videography and a wholly unconvincing manner of staging would-be dramatic events. In the lead role, Naseeruddin Shah conveys some measure of believable angst as poor Michael loses his badge, sinks to serving as a projectionist (and pirate) of Bollywood pics, and gets harassed by the young victim’s dad, who threatens to kill the former cop’s own kid in revenge. But “Michael” falls apart long before Michael does.
Working with the late d.p. Somak Mukherjee, director Ribhu Dasgupta hasn’t a clue how to turn docu footage of political protest into a scene of Michael being ordered to fire his weapon into the crowd. From there, the first-time helmer — reportedly inspired by the Cat Stevens song “Father and Son” — clumsily follows the protagonist’s attempts to care for his soccer-playing kid and to make the rent each month. Believing his boy is being targeted for death, Michael goes fully cuckoo in the laughably unhinged final scenes. Tech credits are terrible.