Baadshaho - Review
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It is easy to dismiss a film that has a lot of “style” with the “form over substance” argument. Baadshaho tries to counter that presumed dismissal with an attempt at balance between story and swagger. But loses steam post-interval and becomes predictably haphazard. That is as much a testament to the makers' consistency across films as it is to the seasoned Hindi action film watchers in us.
Most films give enough mind space to the audience to predict what will happen next or a parallel thought on whether or not you are enjoying a film. Baadshaho doesn't give you much of a chance to think about how you are feeling about the film and succeeds in keeping you guessing about the next twist in a good way – but only in the first half. And that is a tragedy.
Every time Bhavani & Co. (Ajay Devgn & Co.) get into a soup, you think of the many ways that they might get out of it. The film surprises with its solution. Only difference is in the first half, you think it is smart, as interval approached things become quite laughable. The last hour just goes loose. The only intention seems to be to complete a heist-action film to-do list: Story-wise, Double-crossing: check Out-smarting: check Execution-wise: Chase sequence: check Lock-opening sequence: check Police torture sequence: check
While some of these could have worked to the film's advantage, as story elements they become tedious. It then becomes, any other action slick-flick in a different setting. Rajasthan, 70s. Rajasthan is used to give the film a dusty, grungy texture and 70s is used as a loophole, everything that sounds implausible is explained away using the emergency. All the signs of subtle character exposition (dare I say) in the first half are exposed and given a twist with an additional story. It could have been a study of changing perceptions as you know more of the story. But characters behave rather randomly and you lose all the interest you had in them in the beginning.
For the action part, it became more about appreciating what wasn't there rather than what was. Again, in the first half at least the background score didn't become the ever-pulsating beat that we are soon becoming desensitised to. Also, it was good to see a chase sequence that didn't have the predictable shattering of property – a pottery stall here, a vegetable cart there. The climax fight sequence is well-shot but is long and is better positioned in a showreel rather than the film's reel.
Unfortunately, though the songs seem nice to listen to, they are obviously fillers in the films. What we are left with then is the super-cool performances. Like in the trailer, almost every line has a “filmy” edge to it, irrespective of who is delivering it. But, the trailer has taken up the better lines and you are left with barely any new “super-cool” ones for the rest of the film.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the performances too are rid of their energy in the second half – across the board. Not that we haven't seen any of them – Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta, Sanjai Mishra, Vidyut Jamwal – in these forms earlier. They continue their act. Ileana D'cruz is the only one who is slightly different because of the character she plays. Her act as a shrewd ruler to a dramatic and sympathetic one are both convincing. What doesn't work though is the way the character is written itself – it is with the intent to keep the audience guessing rather than serving the story.
We go back to “form over substance” with a half-hearted attempt at form. As an audience, grateful for the attempt, I am. But, that attempt didn't make it an immersive or enjoyable couple of hours at the theater.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Loads
- Language: A couple of abusive words
- Nudity & Sexual content: Bare-chested men and bare-backed women. A couple of making out scenes.
- Concept: Heist.
- General Look and Feel: Slick in sepia-toned, sandy Rajasthan. :)
Baadshaho - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: T-Series Super Cassettes Industries Ltd., Milan Luthria Films Pvt Ltd, Vertex Motion Pictures Pvt. Ltd
- Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Milan Luthria, Krishan Kumar
- Director: Milan Luthria
- Lead Cast: Ajay Devgan, Ileana D'Cruz, Emraan Hashmi
- Supporting Cast: Esha Gupta, Vidyut Jamwal, Sanjai Mishra, Sunny Leone, Sharad Kelkar
- Story: Rajat Arora
- Cinematography: Sunita Radia
- Editor: Aarif Shaikh
- Background Score: John Stewart Eduri
- Choreography: Mudassar Khan, Vijay Ganguly
- Music Director: Ankit Tiwari, Tanishk Bagchi, Kabir Cafe, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
- Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir, A1 Melody Master-Fana, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
- Costume Designer: Payal Saluja
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 135 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
Baadshaho - Trailer
If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube