Agent Vinod. Sriram Raghavan stained his career with that film. After the hard hitting “Ek Haseena Thi” and the stylishly witty “Johnny Gaddar”, it seemed he had lost it. But fortunately he is back. And with Badlapur he gives us a ray of hope.
Badlapur is a slow, brooding revenge tale, which starts with a bang. Sriram directs with a no-nonsense attitude and gears into action almost immediately. In 5 minutes, Varun’s (Raghav) life is turned topsy-turvy by 2 bank robbers. While Nawazuddin (Liak) gets caught, the other one escapes. Liak bottles up and never discloses the name of his accomplice, while Raghav leaves the city and builds a dark, lonely life for himself. Will Raghav be able to get justice? Will Liak escape from prison and get his share of the money? For those answers you will have to watch the film.
While the film is good, it has its flaws. Sriram seems to have written this while listening to ghalib over sips of his favourite single malt. He wanders into the past and the future with equal flair. He broods in the present with scenes that depict the impact of the disastrous opening scene on his lead protagonists. Both of them caged up, one physically and the other emotionally. Raghav cannot come to terms with his loss and seeks badla, while Liak seeks freedom. The screenplay goes from super slo-mo, to what-the-hell is happening intermittently. He also peppers it with powerful women, ample sex and a smattering of violence. Sriram holds his cards pretty close to himself and reveals them one by one. While the outcome is satisfying, the wait is pretty tiresome, especially in the 3rd act.
Now, to the performances. While most women in the film are excellent (Divya Dutta, Huma Qureshi, Radhika Apte, Yami Gautam), the lead protagonists hold the fort pretty well. Nawazuddin (as Liak) is competent as always. But it seems as if he has been typecast. Liak is a complicated character, but one that comes very much in the “Nawaz can do that in his sleep” category. Though Nawaz seems to be in his comfort zone, Varun seems far from it. He tries hard to keep his brows furrowed throughout the film, but it seems forced. His silence is golden and there is a bit of madness in his eyes. Things are ok until he opens his mouth. Somehow the words lose significance when they leave Varun's mouth. He tries real hard and sometimes succeeds in his pursuit of doing something different. But you can’t help but think how awesome it would be if the hero was someone else, someone who could pull it off. It would definitely have taken the film a few notches higher.
Watch the film. Coz it’s well written and well made. Watch it for the director and for Nawaz. Afterall, when he is in his comfort zone, the film becomes Dekhne Liak! Hai naa?
Do let me know your views about the movie below or just hit LIKE if this post didnt waste too much time of yours!