Baadshaho - Review

wogma rating: Even the keen, wait for DVD (?)
quick review:

Delivers a story with lots of style - in the first half. Alas, you come to expect what happens in the last hour and lose the thrill along the way.

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Wogma Review

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

Parental Guidance:

  • 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. :)

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 1.5
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Baadshaho - Trailer

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Comments (4)

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Fan:

The movie starts off with stunning luxurious looks that can only be enjoyed on a giant screen. What with Rajasthan and its majestic palaces, a 50 inch screen would seem crammed.

Other than the larger than life effect what is on offer is a rustic almost Western kind of look and feel with a story that trudges along to reveal the planning, execution and the post portions of a dare devil heist. One can be pardoned to believe that Milan Luthria thought himself to be making a Quentin Tarantino film, replete with gory blood spurting.

The story that the film is narrating may be from the 1970, but the 1970s style of characterisations of whiter than white and darker than black are not carried forward. Barring that sole aspect everything about the story telling is from the 1970s films. So many loopholes, so many creative liberties, so many gaffes, in short a terrible treatment of the story. To be fair there is hardly any story to tell. Worst is the climax, which just carries on and on, with below par action sequences doing nothing in particular. I was literally yawning and fidgeting in my seat for it to get over. Another Tarantino attempt gone horribly wrong? A thriller genre film that doesn't keep you engaged becomes extremely fatiguing.

That brings us to the ensemble. Ajay Devgn is his intense self. Vidyut Jamwal's entry scene is decent but then I felt sorry for him for his poorly written role. Sanjay Mishra gets a minor role. Ileana is a misfit, needs acting lessons. Emraan in a playboy role, why am I not surprised?

The film is too slow for a thriller genre, and it has just too many things happening without any logic. This one can be safely skipped. I would not even recommend watching it on TV as the only good part is the visual treatment that cannot be enjoyed on the TV.

PS: since past several weeks, every Hindi film I watch is preceded by the trailer of the pseudo intellectual film secret superstar. Watching that did promo already puts me off mood before the start of the film, thinking on how bad my Bollywood Diwali be this year. And that peppers my appreciation of the actual film that I have gone to watch.

meeta:

@Baadshaho :) for your ps. Which one is this? I seem to have escaped this one. But that's so sad that the movie is spoilt for you because of the trailer of a movie that the former has nothing to do with. Not fair to the film you are there to watch. :/

Fan:

@Meeta: the promo is of the film "Secret Superstar" ;-) scheduled for Diwali release.

I must have now watched the trailer at least 5 times on the giant screen - and I am fed up of watching its promo. The first time I watched it, it seemed alright. Second time a bit less okay. By the 3rd time I started getting seriously annoyed by this trailer. By now I know the trailer by heart. Each time it is the exact same trailer.

meeta:

@Fan aah ok. I saw it only a couple of times, I think. Lucky me! :D

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