Neeraj Pandey is one of the most reliable director in bollywood, who has earned this position only with his two directed bollywood films. Meanwhile, he has done screenwriting for well intended but mediocre bengali movie ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger‘ and below average ‘Total Siyappa’. His latest work, espionage thriller ‘Baby‘ is one of the most anticipated bollywood film of 2015 and rightly so.
Baby is poor man’s Argo meets Zero dark thirty. Laced with good jingoistic dialogues, having heart at its place, and Akshay kumar back to his action character with sensible but average script, Baby is well intentioned movie but not well made. Akshay Kumar stars as special officer agent Ajay whose skill is like poor man’s Liam Neeson from Taken series, who works in experimental counter-intelligence team named as ‘Baby’ in the wake of 26/11 blast in Mumbai city.
Terrorist Bilal (played in cameo role by Kay Kay Menon) escapes from police van after his trial on one of the busiest road in mumbai, which surprisingly had ‘no traffic’, and no back up team available, huh, was not that too convenient. Movie is set into motion after escape of Bilal and hinted major terror attack in India. It triggers the chain of events set against the clock that promises some good foot chase scenes, hand to hand combat action, gritty cold blooded murder.
Akshay Kumar has been perfectly casted and surprisingly this is his one of the better leading performance in long time, too long time. Unfortunately, this is weakest ‘directed’ film of Pandey which inspite of having potential of turning this into gold, it fails due to poor editing, half baked first half, not so engaging but long foot chase scenes and some silly ideas done hastily that makes it more heroic movie than humanistic and realistic. Even the tense scene sometimes fall flat. Said that, it should be seen once where Akshay kumar cold heartedly slaps everyone as it is his habit, for few intense scenes, good to brilliant performance by everyone and rare to see nail biting climax in bollywood.
“To err is human,to not forgive is Badlapur.”
If John le Carré would have born in India and asked to write a revenge thriller-drama, definitely he would have written something like ‘Badlapur’. Like John le Carré’s espionage novels, which had unheroic, morally ambiguous characters having undercurrent of psychological tone, Badlapur is the character study of psychology of two common men,who are conned by their luck. Unlike many revenge drama saga, Sriram Raghavan constructs the story devoid of all cliches, not falling into the conventional traps of exaggerated melodrama and over the top thrilling scene.
As the strange tag line of the film suggested,”Don’t miss the beginning”, film opens on the busy road with camera held static, and two guys getting inside the bank to rob it. Momentary loss of sanity and calmness by one of the robbers, Laik(played by Nawazuddin) during carjacking leads to accidental death of Pune based Ad agency professional Raghav’s wife and kid. Raghav looks for revenge but he is not sure how to get it, as man in the question is imprisoned for same period as Gabbar Singh (throwback shown in the scene where jail inmates are watching Sholay). Later movie descends into inhuman psyche of both the lead character which blurs the line between revenge and losing control of their own conscience. It doesn’t show clash between good and evil,rather it deals with the malevolent characteristic possessed by both the leads.
Badlapur takes its own sweet time to develop, and which predominantly helps in character buildup from flashback.First half may not go down well with casual viewers, but it is here what movie develops and gives a motif for brutal second half. In one flashback particular scene, Misha is shown reading Daphne DuMaurier’s Don’t Look Now which deals with psychology of grief over loss of daughter ,employing similar technique of flashback as in Badlapur, is it coincidence ?Naah. It gives enough time to imbibe the grief of Raghu’s loss whenever he visits his home, while on other hand Laik tries futile attempt to break the prison.
After Laik is set free from the prison, film changes its gear from slow burning drama and sets itself into motion of thrilling witty battle that reminiscences of one of Srirams’s film noir thriller Ek hasina thi. Surprisingly film dwells into black humor that is naturally woven in drama and mostly mouthed by Nawazuddin siddiqui, like he begs his girlfriend to talk dirty or cunning swagger look whenever someone questions him. Writing and direction is another brilliant aspect of the film, it does have its own share of flaws but isn’t that praise worthy when you do not see Nawaz smoking ganja in entire film but it gives you feel that he is high all the time. Speaking of the performances, every character did what it expected from them to do in a well made movie, but Varun Dhawan surprises everyone with his cold,grief striken but intense performance that shows his range as an actor. Not so surprisingly, Nawazuddin siddiqui majestically plays Laik as unflinching, reckless character with so much of passion that it is worth watching Badlapur again solely for him.
Badlapur is slow noir revenge thriller that is primarily character study of two people whose life changes after an accident, than usual revenge potboiler.
How many times it happens that you finish watching a movie, and instantly you sit to re-watch it. It is to that extent electrifying, zealous and energetic. Rare has drama felt so alive like a live wire, so astonishingly beautiful. This all has been possible due to the engaging and one of the best screen-writing which has tempo like Jazz drumming, from start to end, and fused with two incredible forces in form of two characters, makes this movie much more than a Jazz musical drama. In disguise of Jazz, this movie deals with emotional damage and conquering it ambitiously that is inspiring and equally thought provoking. Damien Chazelle has very smartly woven the thrill in a musical movie about relationship of music teacher and aspirant Jazz drummer, that initially looks predictable but engaging in first half an hour, later turns it into something different altogether , that was unexpected.
Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is a very ambitious guy, focused and stubborn who studies drum in nation’s top music conservatory in New York and aspire to be like late jazz drummer ‘Buddy Rich’. Shaffer conductor Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is not merely a band ‘instructor’ who swings his hand in air according to musical note, but he believes in pushing his students beyond their individual’s expectation. Imagine the friction between two such characters and exactly that makes it worth watching itself. So after Fletcher takes Andrew under his wing as main drummer in the band, Andrew thinks that he has moved step closer of achieving his dream. Soon he realizes that it is still distant dream for him,given that Fletcher is strict stubborn, and has barbarous technique to deal with his students. What keeps him focused even after odds, is that the failure is never a choice for him. He is scared that if he does not succeed, he would be no different from his father who is a failed writer. He takes all the measure not to distract himself from drumming, even if it demands for breaking up with his girlfriend.
Carried by thrilling performance of both the lead cast, Whiplash is one of the best edited movie of this year that has captured so many little emotions in its short running length . Importantly, it does not derive any sympathy for constant failure of its character. Instead, movie focuses more on emotional damages that is initiated at expense of physical damage. Very intricately movie deals with the character artists who are bordering on verge of being obsessed and achieving dream. It romanticizes with Andrew’s frustration, desperation and obsession in such matured manner that it is almost impossible to say that Miles Teller is actually performing the role than he himself living the character. But certainly, revelation of this movie is none other than front runner of Academy for Best Supporting Actor, Mr J.K. Simmons as verbally and physically scurrilous Shaffer . Watch out for the climax and let me know if your heart is not pounding or you do not scream from your gut, at