Badla

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

Many mystery stories for one. Each one drawing you in, to think about the details. What more can we ask for? Have great actors tell us the stories? Sure, take that too.

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Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Running time: 120 minutes
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Almost everything about the trailer makes me want to see the film, soonest! The director, the actors, the storyline all point towards an involving suspense film. If at all there is anything to hold the expectations back it is the possibility of a repetition of the Amitabh Bachchan-Tapsee Pannu act from Pink. And of course, there is the possibility of the story losing its grip.

What makes revenge ok? Does an extra-marital affair justify a murder committed by an offended spouse? Does the person who had an extra-marital affair deserve to be accused of murder? What if the cheating spouse wasn’t really in love with the lover? Badla poses all these questions. And then the usual whodunnit questions such as what was the motivation and what are we missing and do we know the whole truth and do we know the truth at all? All superbly set as of now.

Badla releases on 8 March 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Balda uses one thriller trope that I strongly dislike in a murder mystery—one character narrates everything that happened and how and why. And yet, it is done so well that you don’t even realise it is happening. Actually, the entire set-up is that of two characters playing an enthralling ‘what if’ game with each other.

the entire set-up is that of two characters playing an enthralling ‘what if’ game with each other.

Tapsee Pannu holds her own and matches Amitabh Bachchan’s acting power with her own kind of nuanced performance. And of course, I doubt there is anything left to be written about Bachchan Senior’s talent, including how this performance makes you wonder why he has to do the annoying Just Dial ads. Anyway.

The supporting cast is made weak by Tony Luke despite a decent act by the other two people with significant roles Manav Kaul and Amrita Singh. Amrita Singh comes across as a fierce yet calm force to reckon with even in a helpless situation. At one point Badla comes across as a stand-off between two strong characters and actors that of Naina Sethi (Tapsee Pannu) and Kaur (Amrita Singh). Well written characters, especially Naina Sethi.

The brilliant writing also has each replay of the events add a layer. But the mind-bending bit is that the new story holds only if you remove some bits. And that deletion causes the earlier story in your head to fall like the blocks fall in a game of Jenga.

Naturally, the credit to this part of the writing goes to the original film, the Spanish movie, The Invisible Guest. Badla is less of an adaptation and more of a remake, and that to a certain extent is slightly disappointing. But then again, credit must be given for not spoiling what was done right.

The marginal bits changed either explain events that were not clear in the original or make them seem more believable. So, the changes work for the film. Also, even for people who have seen the original, either because of the subtitles, or owing to the snappy dialogue, or due to just the underlying complexity of the story, Badla asks for a second viewing.

For non-Spanish speakers who understand Hindi though, Badla is a good watch because it brings back what might have been lost in translation. The pace is slightly slower, especially in the beginning, so the story is easier to follow. Of course, I have to discount the fact that this could also be because I had seen the original. Badla does add drama through background score and that is slightly annoying, but it doesn’t get in the way of the brain being wholly engaged in trying to figure out what is happening. In fact, Badla might have a few more pointers to what is really going littered through the film than the original which does what a good thriller does—in the end, makes the viewer feel, “aah, I should have seen that!”

in the end, makes the viewer feel, “aah, I should have seen that!”

The adaptation of the Spanish film as Badla reminded me of 12 Angry Men being adapted as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla. A well-done, even if scene-by-scene, remake.

- meeta, a part of the audience

37 reviewers(?) - 22 yays 15 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...If you love a good old school thriller then Badla is your ticket this weekend. Buckle up for a good roller coaster ride!... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepali Srivastawa, Catch News : ...फिल्म 'बदला' पूरी तरह से एक मर्डर मिस्ट्री के साथ सस्पेंस थ्रिलर फिल्म है अगर आप इसे किसी कॉमेडी एंगल की तरह लेकर देखने जाने वाले है तो बता दें कि ये आपके लिए नहीं है. इसमें बदले की कहानी है जो कि शुरू से अंत तक आपको सीट से बांधे रखेगी और अंत में जो राज सामने आएगा और जो सच्चाई पता चलेगी वो आपको हैरान कर देगी. बाकि फिल्म में एक भी गाने भी नहीं है सिर्फ केस है और उसे सुलझाया जाएगा और खूनी को पकड़ा जाएगा.... full review

Thumbs up, Deccan Chronicle : ...This one is not meant for all those teenyboppers who want an outing to cootchie-coo and munch popcorns in a dark theatre, or allow their fingers to tap and swipe their phones constantly. It requires dedicated viewing, and it’s very gripping! Go, watch it!... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...In short, Badla is a true-blue mystery thriller alright. Bollywood directors don't much attempt the genre and it's high time they did so...... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...BADLA starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu is certainly the must-see crime thriller/revenge drama in Bollywood. Ruled by exceptional performances, The Sujoy Ghosh directed movie is a movie that transcends the normal constraints of its genre and is worth your investment of both time and attention. When did you had the elements of truth, lies, justice, sin, guilt, vengeance and redemption probing you seriously while you are hooked by the character’s of a movie? BADLA is that rare spellbindingly sensational experience coming from a mainstream Bollywood crime thriller/revenge drama.... full review

Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...In my eyes, that’s a good enough reason to watch a suspense thriller.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...Some technicalities get in the way: the newspapers (with banner headlines) look astonishingly fake; smartphones are used as timers, while recording devices remain exasperatingly analog. I shouldn’t say more. Badla remains an engaging film, and while we can blame Ghosh for casting Bachchan and somewhat spoiling the climax, he can’t possibly be blamed for casting that man in a role that requires a lot of talking. Amitabh Bachchan has been in the movies for fifty years now, and whatever he says, we’re listening.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...Intellectually stimulating, Badla is a finely-crafted thriller, one that’s both, uneasily tense and deliciously entertaining. It also keeps drawing in parallels with Mahabharata, a great storytelling device, where the filmmaker is constantly dropping clues to the audience.... full review

Thumbs up, by Charu Thakur, india today : ...If you have already seen The Invisible Guest, there is only a little more that Ghosh is serving you with Badla. But if you are watching Badla as a standalone film without any reference to the original, it will entertain and surprise you.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...On the acting side, Taapsee is incredibly nuanced as always for her character, which is a super mix of the confident and the tense woman who wants out of this dangerous situation. Amitabh Bachchan is in excellent fettle, and I loved the way he smiles – a quirky mix of someone who is daring and even mocking his employer who is paying him big money for doing his job and someone who is a self-assured ace counsel. Amrita Singh is a complete surprise and is plain magnificent in her (length-wise) brief role. The rest do well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Among the able supporting cast is Manav Kaul, whom I always want to see more of. The same goes for the wonderfully agile Amrita Singh. It’s a pleasure to see her in a role of some substance. I’d call this the best ‘badla’ against the stock mum-and-aunt types actresses of a certain age are forced to play: on the whole, Badla is a well-crafted suspenseful thriller, and Singh’s presence gives it heft.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...Badla is recommended for the brilliance of Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu and Sujoy Ghosh. It is a film not to be missed.... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Badla does not just keep you hooked till the end but it destroys your delusion of ‘I’ve predicted the climax’. Outstandingly performed mind-numbing drama that is on a slow burner and in those last couple of minutes, it explodes like a good dream.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In a role that is right up his alley, Amitabh Bachchan is classy. Taapsee Pannu is right on the button as a cornered woman on the brink of a catastrophe, as is Amrita Singh as an aggrieved mother who has nothing to lose.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Badla is handsomely mounted, unfolding for the most part in atmospheric, gloomy, wintertime Glasgow. The film doesn’t pack the wallop that Kahaani delivered, but it’s a respectable enough thriller that seldom loses grip of its pace or your attention.... full review

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, News18.com : ...Overall, Badla, is a watchable revenge story worthy of its name.... full review

Thumbs up, by Joginder Tuteja, Planet Bollywood : ...Thankfully for him as well as the audiences, that doesn’t really turn out to be the case and that’s what makes Badla such an entertaining thriller that deserves not one, but actually a two time watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...At two hours running time, Badla keeps the deed both short and sweet.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Sify Movies : ...At the end Sujoy Ghosh captures two vital faces staring out of a window. They remind us of how important characterisation is to a tightly-wound plot, and how easily a suspense drama can come undone in the wrong hands.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurang Chauhan, Times Now : ...P.S - For all those who have watched the original Spanish film The Invisible Guest and are wondering what's in store for them and will they enjoy it? Well, I had watched the original and still enjoyed Badla. Also, after watching movies like Badla and Kahaani, I sometimes wonder if Sujoy Ghosh really helmed films like Home Delivery and Aladin?... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...The cinematography by Avik Mukhopadhyay, the editing by Monisha R Baldawa and the background score by Clinton Cerejo compliment Ghosh’s edge-of-the-seat storytelling. The predictability of the screenplay dampens the thrills occasionally, also the climactic twist requires a healthy dose of suspense of disbelief. But, even the seasoned genre faithfuls will agree that 'Badla' offers a creative and thrilling end to a captivating mystery.... full review

Thumbs up, by Pallavi Mukherjee, yahoo! India : ...It is not mindless thriller, keeps you hooked to the story and gives you thrills with it’s plot twist... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...today what he has given us is Badla: if you are not in too demanding a mood, this is an enjoyable film.... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Badla wants us to believe that it’s not too hard to mimic one of the most iconic of faces and voices of our cinema. Close, but no cigar.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...On a concluding note, in the present world of Netflix, Prime and many other official movie platforms streaming the originals too, now it all depends upon how you want your cinema to be served and enjoyed making a wise choice ...... stirred, shaken or stirred not shaken just like the Bond.... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, BADLA is a smart and impressive suspense drama with the shocking climax and riveting performances being its USP. At the box office, its prospects might be limited to multiplex audience.... full review

So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Badla remains forcibly consistent to this oeuvre of maternal rage. Only, it focuses on the other side of the kahaani, which is why you can see the strings and the puppeteers running the show. Making something – or someone, in this case – look better than it is maybe an art, but it is clearly a dying one.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...Badla remains watchable until the end but it doesn’t become essential viewing. I’m going with two and a half stars.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The lies spun here don’t work up mystery or intrigue. The manner in which the conversation between Naina and Badal progresses induces lethargy rather than interest. Naina’s attitude is also rather off-putting. Tapsee Pannu starts off by being earnest and then doesn’t seem to care much about the consequences of her actions and that rather deflates whatever little interest this whodunit drums up. Amitabh Bachchan is also a little too imposing to fit into the role he assays leaving us with very little take away from this far from a brilliant attempt at murder mystery thriller. Even famed Malayalam actor Tony Luke comes across as a tad uncomfortable as the illicit lover Arjun Joseph. So it’s literally up to Amrita Singh to lend a modicum of conviction to a rather outlandish set-up that doesn’t quite hit the right notes.... full review

So-So, by Punarvasu Pendse, fullhyd.com : ...The sound plays a very important role in holding up suspense, and Badla manages to pull that off without any hitches. The complete lack of any songs or dance sequences also helps to uphold the sombre mood set by the film from minute one.... full review

So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Bachchan is commanding as always but Pannu earns neither sympathy nor surprise, whereas Amrita Singh achieves both in her decisive role. If revenge is a dish best served cold, this one isn’t icy enough.... full review

So-So, by Mohar Basu, MiD DAY : ...As admirers of thrillers, we are not failed by Ghosh. The tapestry of tension that he weaves is unparalleled. The camerawork by Avik Mukherjee deserves a mention. Set in Glasgow, the setting plays a part that's as essential as the characters. I was sold to the ride that Badla took me on; but, does it live it up to the thrill of Ghosh's Kahaani? Nah, that will need cleverer writing. Yet, this is worth a watch.... full review

So-So, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...You will surely enjoy this film, if you have not seen the original but if you have seen The Invisible Guest, you can give this film a miss. If you have a Netflix subscription, watch the original, you will thank me later.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...As an attorney in this film says, “It’s all in the details—t Read more at: https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/entertainment/movie-review/badla-movie-review-taapsee-pannu-amitabh-bachchan-and-amrita-singh-leave-a-powerful-impression-in-this-sujoy-ghosh-thriller/articleshow/68316124.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...Naina Sethi is 'Businesswoman of the Year' but she's implicated in a murder. Her lawyer has sent Badal Gupta who has never lost a case and he's helping Naina prove her innocence. An official remake of the Spanish film 'The Invisible Guest' on Netflix, this film keeps you involved... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Badla has hugely familiar leads, and the casting of at least one of them allows Ghosh to deliver a weak and unconvincing coup de grace. Taapsee Pannu is unable to summon up the blank canvas onto which all manner of possibilities can be projected, while Amitabh Bachchan hops on the gravitas train for the nth time. The gender swap allows for a meaty role for Amrita Singh, who deftly plays a key character, and her presence, along with that of Tony Luke, work strongly in the movie’s favour and helps it along its pretzel-shaped journey.... full review

So-So, by Sharad Raj, Upper Stall : ...Finally, though Badla may not be a shining star in the firmament of film thrillers, it certainly has its moments and makes for reasonably engaging viewing. Which is more than you can say for most of our films these days.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: It is a murder mystery. The murder is played out multiple times.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None. Except that the setting is an extra-marital affair.
  • Concept: A murder takes place. The accused wants to get away.
  • General Look and Feel: Matter-of-factly, mostly shot in 3-4 rooms.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Badla - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
120 minutes
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Comments (4)

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Fan

Can't wait.

Let's hope it is more of Kahaani and less of Kahaani2.

@Fan exactly! **fingers crossed**

Since it opens in India today, I doubt we're going to see this for a while.

Still, it looks like the kind of twisty-mystery thriller we all enjoy watching, and seeing Amitabh Bachchan as a Jury Expert asking very searching questions means we'll be there when it comes out here.

@TimELiebe I believe the Spanish original, "The Invisible Guest" is available on Netflix

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