Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Year: 2018
Director: Neeraj Pande
Cast: Siddharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpai, Rakul Preet Singh

A Neeraj Pande-film raises high expectations. It is but natural to expect something good from a director who has so far helmed four successive critically acclaimed and commercially successful films such as A Wednesday, Special 26, Baby and M.S. Dhoni- The untold story.

With some slick promos Aiyaary did look interesting to begin with, and the debates and discussions about whether it should be banned for defaming the armed forces, only raised the public interest further.

What’s the plot?

In Aiyyary, Mishra tells a story of a covert special army team, led by a tough, honest officer (Manoj Bajpai). A young officer from this team (Sidharth Malhotra) goes rogue and threatens to leak some sensitive information that would not only jeopardize his own team but also shake up the nation. With the proverbial sword hanging over his head, the unit chief now decides to hunt down his protégé, who has gone off the radar with a computer expert girl-friend (Rakul Preet Singh).


Unfortunately the film turns out to be a damp squib and will go on to be counted as Pande’s first major failure. It is a disjointed lethargic film that despite its good production values (locations, action sequences and other technical angles), simply cannot hold your interest for long.

Manoj Bajpai is efficient as always but Siddharth Malhotra is simply disappointing. The rest of the cast, which includes some fine actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Adil Patel and Kumud Mishra, is rendered ineffective by a poor screenplay and unclear characterization.

As a writer-director Pande has shown great flair in using real life-inspired incidents in his earlier thrillers.  Here, too he tries the same formula. So there are references to arms deal kickbacks, ex-army officers becoming touts for arms dealers, army chief being accused of plotting a coup, undercover agents left high and dry, politicians grabbing land reserved for army widows….all major headlines in recent years. But instead of melding into a cohesive narrative, these burning issues just come across like weak props to hang various scenes.

With no pace, intrigue and entertainment value, Aiyaary  is a major letdown.


1.5 stars

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