Saturday, 21 February 2015

Badlapur :: Movie Review


                                                    
Badlapur is a noir revenge caper helmed by Sriram Raghavan that despite of being dark, gory  is entertaining enough to keep you glued to your seats till the very end primarily because of brilliant execution and towering performances. When it comes to filming thrillers, Sriram Raghavan is a name to reckon with & he has proved his credentials in the past by making Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar n Agent Vinod. While his last flick Agent Vinod proved to be a damp squib at the box office but he is back with a bang with Badlapur. Badlapur has all the quintessential elements that an engrossing thriller needs ; eyebrow-singeing intensity, perfectly structured plot with several layers attached to it which keep on unfolding with due passage of time, well etched out characters and intriguing suspense. Badlapur is not usual good versus bad tale or a typical revenge saga as there are no set black or white characters in the movie. Though, the movie begins with an African proverb " Axe forgets but the tree remembers " clearly setting the tone for the movie to be a revenge saga but Raghavan has cleverly infused the stress on forgiveness also in the film. From the promos Badlapur seemed like a revenge driven saga with lot of gory bloodshed but the director has cleverly concocted the story in the form of Psychological drama. In fact, the first half of the movie is full of black and quirky humor which mainly flows from the mouth of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the revenge saga unfolds in the second half. The best part of the movie is its unpredictability which keeps the audience engaged as to what's gonna happen next. And, in making this movie engrossing Raghavan has been well aided by Varun Dhawan & Nawazuddin Siddiqui along with talented ensemble starcast. What works primarily in favor of the movie is its well etched characters as most of them are not what they seem. Badlapur comes with a tagline : Don't miss the beginning which is apt enough because the action that unfolds in first fifteen minutes or so is fantastic and sets the tone for the movie. Two robbers fleeing after committing a bank robbery shatter the life of the protagonist by killing his wife and kid. Badlapur is not only about how far would you go to seek revenge but also about if you can ever judge good and bad in a linear way. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                          :: The story of the movie is based on a novel penned by Massimo Carlotto where as screenplay of the movie has been co-penned by Sriram Raghavan along with Arijit Biswas. They have done a wonderful job as they have cleverly concocted a simple revenge saga in a complex, engaging way with enough of twists and turns. They have peppered this noir drama with lot of black humor which further enhances the impact of the movie. Scenes depicting verbal spat between Nawazuddin and other prisoner played by Murali Sharma are a treat to watch. And, the way they have carved out the characters is simply brilliant as each character introduced in the movie adds to its drama quotient. The movie opens with two persons namely Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Harman (Vinay Pathak) committing a bank robbery in Pune. While fleeing after committing the robbery, they hijack SUV of Misha (Yami Gautam) who is out shopping with her kid. As the cops are chasing them somehow the front door of the car opens and kid falls on the road. As Misha starts to resist, she is shot at by Liak. With cops on the chase, Liak hands over the gun and the loot money to Harman telling him to jump out. Soon, Liak is captured by the police who tells the cops that he is just the driver and the main culprit has escaped. On the other hand, Raghu (Varun Dhawan) is at work when he receives a call that his wife and kid have met with an accident. On reaching hospital, he finds them dead and is devastated to know that they got killed by robbers for no fault of theirs. He tries every possible thing to get even with Liak which includes having forced sex with his prostitute girlfriend Jhumli (Huma Qureshi). Meanwhile, Liak is charged for murder, robbery and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. As the incident begins to haunt him, Raghu shifts from Pune to a town called Badlapur. After 15 years Raghu is approached by Shobha (Divya Dutta) who rehabilitates prisoners with a plea to sign on pardon petition of Liak as he has been diagnosed with Cancer and is about to die in an year's time. But, Raghu is adamant that he will only sign if Liak reveals the name of his partner in crime. Since Liak's mother (Pratima Kazmi) doesn't want her son to die in jail, she approaches Raghu and tells him about Liak's partner. Raghu  becomes a controlled maniac and chases Liak's robbery partner Harman and his wife Koko (Radhika Apte). Firstly, Raghu befriends Koko, than humiliates Koko n Harman by inflicting psychological torture on them, finally sledging them with a hammer before taking Liak's share of loot from Harman. Meanwhile, Liak comes out of jail and is on lookout for Harman to get his share of the loot. On the other hand, a cop (Kumud Mishra) on the verge of retirement gets  hold of some evidence that can nail Raghu for the murders of Koko n Harman and blackmails Raghu to hand him over Liak's share of loot money.  Will Raghu seek his revenge from Liak, Will Raghu be caught for the twin murders he has committed is what forms the rest of the story.   

STARCAST                                                                                              ::     Though, Varun Dhawan has proved his acting prowess in sweet romantic roles but frankly speaking I was a little apprehensive when I read that Raghavan has signed him for such an intense role. Keeping his chocolaty boy image in mind, I was skeptical whether he would be able to pull this one through. But, Kudos to Varun Dhawan as he has not only portrayed the character of Raghu with conviction but also with remarkable ease. His character goes through lot of transformations as the movie proceeds and he portrays them with aplomb. Whether it is the clean shaven Raghu sitting in a boardroom meeting or mustache bearing Raghu sitting in a coffee bar where Yami breaks the news of being pregnant to him or the bearded Raghu who is all raring to seek revenge ruthlessly ; he has looked equally effective in all these avatars. It is definitely the best performance of Varun till date and he is definitely proving to be a dark horse who is here for a long run. Nawazuddin Sidiqqui.....Take a bow. It won't be wrong to say that Nawazuddin is the ace as well soul of this movie. He has truly acted like a chameleon by portraying a myriad number of emotions in this movie. His body language, mannerisms, verbal tone and facial expressions change with every other scene and the character he is talking to. The way he teases and imitates his limping prison-mate, urges Huma to talk dirty with him, pleads for forgiveness in front of Varun Dhawan, dodges cops by stating that he was just a driver in robbery episode is a relishing treat to watch. Huma Qureshi sizzles in the role of Jhimli and proves that it is acting prowess and not the length of role which is important to leave a lasting impression. She is a fine actress and how i wish if she had more meatier part to play in the movie. Yami Gautam looks beautiful and has played her brief role effectively. Radhika Apte looks convincing as the wife who is ready to sleep with Raghu to save her husband from crutches of law. Vinay Pathak once again proves his versatility by enacting the character of Harman to perfection. Amongst the ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been portrayed by Kumud Mishra as a cop, Divya Dutta as Shobha, Pratima Kazmi as Nawazuddin's mother and Murli Sharma as prisoner.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                                        ::    The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Sachin-Jigar who have belted out a descent album. Couple of tracks namely 'Jee Karda' & 'Jeena Jeena' have already become a rage and stay with you even after you exit the cinema hall. The background score of the movie has also been composed by Sachin-Jigar which is excellent. BGM is apt enough as per the genre of the movie and provides further impetus to the on-screen visuals. The cinematographer of the movie is Anil Mehta who has done a fantastic job behind the lens in capturing the visuals. The cinematography is plush and passionate and yet the film's visuals never topples into the kingdom of garish. The movie has been edited by Pooja Surti who has shown her finesse by packaging the action in run-time of 134 minutes. Her editing is crisp and taut giving you no chance to go out for a loo break. A special mention of Parvez Fazal Khan for orchestrating apt action sequences. As a director, Sriram Raghavan excels by bringing out the best from his cast n crew. With Badlapur, Raghavan has reaffirmed that when it comes to helming thrillers, he is one of the best directors we have in the industry today. He has crafted a revenge story in such an intriguing way that it keeps the audience hooked unto their seats with its enough twists and turns. On top of that, he has laden the screenplay with ample dosage of black humor which provides much needed comic respite in this dark thriller making it all the more entertaining. Leaving the box office debacle of Agent Vinod aside, Director Sriram Raghavan has crafted an ace of trump this time through Badlapur.

CONCLUSION                                                                                                           ::     If you have a penchant for hard hitting thrillers, dare not to miss this flick. Title suggests..Don't miss the beginning, I suggest Don't miss Badlapur as whole.  I am giving it four stars out of five. 

ROHIT SHARMA.
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