My Take – After giving a lavished yet a damp squib take on James Bond back in 2012 (Agent Vinod), director Sriram Raghavan has made a grand comeback by trading back to his roots of dark, brooding & intense drama. Sriram Raghavan’s finesse in handling noir drama is unmatchable in Bollywood. Be it Ek Hasina Thi or Johnny Gaddaar, Raghavan has always proved his mettle in this genre. His movies unfold with a stark shocks which manages to keeps the audience glued to the screen! This thriller develops at a taut pace, starting as a light- hearted love story and later gradually growing in suspense thriller with its shocking proceedings. The director knows his job well and lets the audience simmer in anticipation as he slowly cooks a complex meaty plot. The story follows Raghav (Varun Dhawan), a young advertising executive with a picture perfect life that is savaged unexpectedly when his wife (Yami Gautam) and son get killed during a bank robbery carried out by Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) & Harman (Vinay Pathak). Two things appear to be constant over the next 15 years: Raghu’s violent grief and Liak’s sly cheekiness. However, there are actually many twists in this tale. Whether it’s the prostitute Jhimli (Huma Qureshi) or the inspector in charge of Liak’s case (Kumud Mishra), no one is quite what they seem.
Director Sriram Raghavan has served us a fantastic film that suffuses on screen – a deftly written story, spectacular performances and an intelligently layered screenplay. What works best here is the film’s unpredictability. From the minute it begins, you’re latched to your seat with your heart throbbing in your mouth and your throat frequently choking up. For the sheer impact the movie conjures up, writer- director Sriram Raghavan deserves a bow. There are two types of people in this world. The first type mourn for sometime after struck by a tragedy and move on with their lives. The second type, evolves to become tragedy themselves. The movie throws plenty of ethical questions at you. Which becomes really difficult to answer under the circumstances, and it becomes increasingly difficult to assess who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. Raghav gets struck by a shocking tragedy, from which he fails to recover. But, he evolves into something heinous, something sinister. He commits few acts which are considered to be menacing to the human race. But, he must commit them, for the purpose of his life had now changed, from a loving father and a doting husband he had now transformed into a dark, rather a very dark psychopath. Yes! This movie contains few disturbing scenes, which can haunt you for sometime. When i say disturbing, i mean the kind of feeling that you got, when/if you have seen Anurag Kashyap’s movie UGLY’s climax scene, where you get to see the rotten dead body of a beautiful little girl. But, these scenes make this movie what it is. Varun Dhawan is very impressive in a completely different role. This is one of his most restrained acts, and his serious character comes as a pleasant surprise after all the comic, lighthearted and womanizing characters he has played before. He is phenomenal in this role, getting everything about his character absolutely spot on, whether it’s his expressions, his body language or his emotional outbursts. He takes a complete u-turn from his on-screen image & portrays a part that’s miles away from his comfort zone. The actor has done well & deserves kudos for accepting a part as dark as this so early in his career.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is simply too good an actor. The supremely talented actor delivers a knock-out performance, enacting the villain with unmatchable ease & style. Sly and manipulative, his persona exudes pure evil, without even the stereotype evil laugh. His eyes strike a fear that resonates deep in your soul even hours after the movie is over, Siddiqui is the character you keep thinking of. He contributes enormously to the film’s funniest & scariest scenes, thanks to his brilliant portrayal. Vinay Pathak is restrained & likeable. Out of the female lot it is Huma Qureshi who stands out as a call- girl in a brief role. I think she bought a touching sensitivity to the character. There was a lot of depth in her performance. She exudes an inimitable charisma on the screen & looks gorgeous leaving all sundry spellbound. Yami Gautam doesn’t get enough scope to perform. Divya Dutta does her job well. Radhika Apte is superb and sensational as a wife. As the end credits roll, you would want to stand up & applaud as this easily one of the finest films made in recent times. Among the non stop ‘masala’ kind of films being churn out almost every week, its really hard to look out for such kind of a film. On the whole ‘Badlapur’ is a a cinematic excellence filled violence and gore. A complete performance driven film. A film that deals with dark humor revenge. This is a film that will continue to live-on in the minds of cinema lovers for a long time to come.
Director – Sriram Raghavan
Rated – R
Run Time – 134 minutes