Mediocre ‘Kings’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Sep 2017 08:24:50


By Farina Salim Quraishi

That Baadshaho is an ode to the cinema of the 1970s should have been a warning enough! And true to his word (at least someone kept his in Baadshaho), director Milan Luthria with every emotion, action and reaction pays homage to the glorious era of Bollywood, never mind the fact that most of what unfolds on the screen appears preposterous, in the extreme. Packing a tried and tested formula - done to death a million times already - in a sand-kissed setting, Baadshaho is a quintessential masala movie and makes no bones about. So, we have the hero-heroine singing away to glory, promises made only to be broken, clash of the good, the bad and the evil, romantic interludes, the bad guys getting theirs and then some more in the 2.35- hour movie, with not one thought being spared for point or plausibility of it all.

Starting off in 1973, with a glittering party thrown by Rajput Maharani Gitanjali Devi (Ileana D'Cruz), the film fast forwards a couple of years, but not before Gitanjali has a nasty run in with a political strong weight. Sanjay Gandhi look-alike Sanjeev (Priyanshu Chatterjee) is smitten by the suave Queen, but is however sent royally packing. Swearing to avenge his disgrace, Sanjeev starts plotting Gitanjali’s downfall! After Emergency is imposed, Sanjeev gets Gitanjali arrested for stashing away her family gold and not coming clean with the government.

Locked away in a cell and the gold about to slip from her grasp, Gitanjali beseeches her confidante, Bhawani Singh (Ajay Devgn) to steal the booty before it reaches Delhi. Too big a job for one man, Bhawani recruits former mates -veteran cracksman Tikla (Sanjay Mishra), agile bestie (Emraan Hashmi) to take on the army, with Gitanjali’s secretary Sanjana (Esha Gupta) later joining the motley group. All arguments and common-sense brushed aside by Bhawani, simply with, “Woh army hai, hum
harami hai.”

Despite military man Major Seher Singh (Vidyut Jammwal) - entrusted with treasures safe transportation - keeping a close watch, Bhawani goes ahead with the plan; totally unaware that the Queen has an ace up her sleeve. With what was promised, to what is being said (drawled in case of Ajay Devgn), to what actually unfolds in reality, having no connection, Baadshaho is a mishmash of several smart lines and few plot ideas, which are clever only on paper! Sequences are designed not to carry forward the movie but rather to make room for dramatic moments. Pray, what was the point of Ajay and Ileana driving off a cliff and later walk towards a neatly laid out bonfire by the riverside?! This and several more scenes make absolutely no sense, yet have glorified running times. The writing is lazily and very amateurish with too few thrills and is rife with predictability. And as for its period setting, that the film is “set against the backdrop of the Emergency” eventually turns out to be as silly as Inder Kumar’s promises of making family entertainers and just as empty.

Also the strong one-liners, a trademark of Luthria’s previous films, lack the punch and come across as cheesy! It’s a pain to see the protagonists mouth lines such as, “Aankh mein chamak tab hi aati hai jab unmein khatra ho” or “Jab baat zubaan ki ho toh jaan ki keemat kam ho jaati hai” or even “Main dil churata hoon, batwa nahi...!!” , making one squirm.

Despite such poor material to go on, all the actors shine bright and lift the movie with their performance. Ajay Devgn with his strong screen presence and brooding eyes stands tall among the talented performers. But then again, the role is a repetition of characters he has been playing since ages. Emraan Hashmi is a perfect fit in the casanova role, though his frequent reminiscing about his ‘friend’ gets annoying after a while. Sanjay Mishra gets the funniest lines and delivers them brilliantly. His good-natured whining and reluctance to join the heist are among best portions of the film. Vidyut Jammwal is a gorgeous sight. Fighting fit with a superb physique, Vidyut is every inch the army man especially with that snazzy hair cut. But due to contrasting shades of his character, he flounders; more so post interval.

Both the girls Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta are mostly decorative pieces and have little to do, despite substantial screen-time. Moreover, Ileana’s evil act fails to cut any ice, given her bland expressions. With all of Bollywood tricks and treats crammed in, Baadshaho offers very little in the name of anything new or novel and is out and out commercial offering.

The Hitavada Rating: O O