Chess is a game of attrition, where an opponent is slowly but surely forced into submission. Unless it is speed-chess, where there is little time to think and things get out of control pretty quick. That's exactly what happens with Wazir ( Yep, it's a 1 hour 45 minute game), where things start off at a blitzy pace, settles into a somber one in the middle and then goes out of control towards the end.
The players are solid : When you have Amitabh and Farhan at the helm of things you can be pretty sure that the performances would be solid. While Amitabh has a tendency to go overboard at times when he plays these eccentric characters, it's good to see that Bijoy has kept him in check here. Farhan seems to be at the top of his game again and plays the grieving man with aplomb.
A good Opening : Bejoy Nambiar, the man behind 2 crazy films like Shaitan and David, starts off his third at a frenetic pace. A few quick moves later, the game is interestingly placed, with Farhan in a bit of a soup. The Screenplay is paced pretty much like a Ferrari on a Mumbai road. It goes from 0-60 in 6 secs and then comes crashing down to 10 at the next junction. But the background score keeps the mood grim and interesting. Also, the slick production value and the gritty action sequences give the film an international feel.
A meandering second : Abhijat and Chopra ( The Writers) make some slow but bold moves in the middle, and give Amitabh some crowd pleasing dialogues to set up the end game well. It's all about strategy and towards the middle, a mystery move suddenly makes the movie interesting. Of all the people ( a Joker) Neil Nitin Mukesh makes you sit up in your seat and wonder what will happen next.
A crumbling endgame : While things are set up well, there is little logic in what happens next. The Ferrari stutters more than it moves. A similar pattern emerges in the moves and the end becomes predictable. It's almost as if Abhijat and Chopra have a certain end game in mind and they back-calcuate all the moves to suit that ending. But the problem is that the writers seem to be playing from both the ends. The pieces move conveniently into position, the audience frets because it all seems very easy. And BOOM, it all ends in a bit of an anti-climax. While the villain is checkmated, the audience seems stalemated!
The Verdict: Well, no matter how frustrated you get at the end, because the movie had so much potential and the writers seemed to have messed it up, you still leave the theater in just 2 hours! Time is the variable which both screws the game as well as makes it watchable. As Amitabh puts it, Chess Waqt ka khel zaroor hai... par usse khelne ka koi waqt nahi!!
So go, watch it if you want to see some good performances in a not so run of the mill storyline. But have some patience when things go awry.... after all, chess is a game of attrition.
I was out of town for the first couple of days of the year, so decided to give a perfect start to my senses on Sunday by watching the special one-off episode of Sherlock - The Abominable Bride.
And why not, I was so looking forward to this sumptuous treat of watching Benedict play Sherlock in the true Victorian era. And everything looked delicious for the first half an hour. But after that, this victorian mystery turned out to be a horror (for its fans)!
Now, I had seen Sherlock even before it became the rage and was amazed with the way Moffat had created this contemporary Sherlock ( unlike the rather average American take - Elementary). Its first season was stellar, and I really looked forward to the second, which didn't disappoint me either. But much like this special episode, Sherlock has been hurtling downwards season by season, episode by episode.
Very little attention is paid to the mystery itself, while Moffat focusses on either convoluted storytelling or Sherlock's idiosyncrasies or Sherlock and Watson's bromance. Loads of bickering happens and we are supposed to admire Benedict's wizadry as an actor rather than the ingenuity of the plot. And that's the general problem in this 2016 Special Episode aswell.
What starts off as a one-off, tries to merge with the main contemporary plot line and plays to-fro, to-fro just too many times in the second half to be digestible. Also, the main mystery which is given a nice build up crashes to an anti-climax as Sherlock goes deeper and deeper into his dreams - Inception style!
Now we know this is not the real deal, this is just some fun before the serious stuff begins all over again in 2017, but even then it really scares me. Because truth be said, the 3rd season of Sherlock was a real let down. With Moriarity back in business, 4th season was again promising to exciting. But if Moffat continues to just use gas instead of substance, then all our hopes would be flushed down the Lavatory my dear Watson.
Rating: 4/10 - For a decent first half and brilliant performances.
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