After his brilliant debut film Ek Hasina Thi (2004), director Sriram Raghavan has given us an edgy Johnny Gaddar (2009) and an insipid Agent Vinod (2012). While there is no doubt about the talent the man possesses, his career graph has not exactly soared in the last decade. That’s why I didn’t know what to expect from his latest film Badlapur. But then the critics and box-office started reacting favourably and that piqued my curiosity. So how is the film?
What’s the plot?
A botched up bank robbery results in deaths of a young executive’s (Varun Dhawan) wife (Yami Gautam) and son. The young man is devastated by the loss of his loved ones. Consumed by grief and anger, he plots revenge on the men who were responsible for the killings. He patiently waits for years for the nabbed robber’s (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) jail sentence to get over. Tracking movements of the convict’s mother and his prostitute girlfriend (Huma Qureshi), he hopes to find the accomplice (Vinay Pathak), who had managed to escape with the loot at the time of robbery. A lot has happened during these long years of wait. How will this game play out in the end?
· Raghavan turns the film into an absorbing psychological drama, showing how situations dictate the good-evil conflict within a man and how passage of time changes people for better or worse.
· Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s portrayal of a hardened criminal, who is cunning and vulnerable in equal measures, is superb. In fact, he walks away with the main acting honours in the film.
· Varun Dhawan successfully breaks out of his happy-go-lucky rom-com chocolate boy image. His role of a revenge-driven man, who is slowly losing his mind and who is willing to go to any extent in his quest, is quite impressive.
· Huma Qureshi, Divya Dutta, Yami Gautam, Radhika Apte, Pratima Kazmi, Vinay Pathak and Murli Sharma leave their mark in their respective roles.
· The music complements the movie.
· After a breathless beginning, the first half stutters a bit, before picking pace post-interval.
· Many dark and disturbing scenes.
Badlapur (translating into ‘City of revenge’- a clever word-play!) is a moody, dark psychological thriller, which is worth watching for Raghavan’s crafty direction, Siddiqui and Dhawan’s excellent lead performances and a stellar supporting cast. Though its slow build-up and stylized depiction of sex and violence may not be palatable for many, the box-office seems to have given it thumbs-up!