'Baazaar' movie review: Sharp, edgy and makes for an engaging watch
Saif Ali Khan is impressive as the unabashed Shakun Kothari.
Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan) is a ruthless businessman in Mumbai. He makes money by buying and selling shares and is called a 'fraud' by his business community, media, and society at large. He is uninhibited and all he cares about is profit.
Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) is an ambitious boy from Allahabad. He idolises Shakun and makes working with him his ultimate goal in life. Paths cross and he meets Radhika Apte, a competitive stock-broker in the firm he begins his flight with.
Director Gauravv Chawla takes us to the greedy world of a stockbroking firm, where brokers are under tremendous pressure and resort to unethical means to make an extra commission. The ultimate goal for the different corrupt characters in Baazaar is to make money, be it the top businessman, broker, politician or a political agent.
The Jain touch to Shakun Kothari's character with him using phrases like 'Micchami Dukkadam' (I seek your forgiveness) even as he sabotages people's lives shows how thick-skinned he has become. Few grey hair strands, Gujarati dialogues and we have a businessman who loves his family but would also not blink before taking advantage of them and his friends for 'dhanda' (business). Saif Ali Khan, fresh from the success of 'Sacred Games', fits in effortlessly as Shakun and doesn't have to go the extra mile.
Debutant Rohan Mehra is impressive as the small-town youngster with a hunger to achieve bigger things in life. Although he sometimes lacked the range required for his character of Rizwan, he might get better with films.
Radhika Apte belongs to the Dalal Street. She is charismatic and ready to 'cross the line' to take the extra risk to make money. But movie-goers could foresee where her character was leading to, as they could with Chitrangada Singh's (Mandira) who is the wife of Shakun Kothari. They both perform well and help build the momentum for the two men.
Expect a lot of dialogue-baazi as these unidimensional characters converse with each other in idioms, making either threats or statements, which can be off-putting at times.
The first half is perfectly paced and although things fall in place too conveniently for Shakun and Rizwan, we want to know more. Don't attempt to find realism as it could disappoint you. But the same can't be said about the second half, which could have been salvaged with crisp editing.
Two scenes towards the climax were unnecessary and just tested our patience. And Bollywood's fixation with songs - do we always need them? None of the songs stayed with us and will make you puff as you wait for them to finish.
The closer we came to a stockbroking floor in Bollywood was in Mani Ratnam's 'Guru', so Baazaar is a fresh welcome from all the love sagas and crime-related stories in Bollywood.
The movie caters to the mass audience and introduces us to ideas like insider trading, media manipulations, political rigging with great ease, even for the uninitiated.
Baazaar is sharp, edgy and engulfs you into the big bad world of stock exchange trading. It will leave you thoroughly entertained.
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Chitrangada Singh, Radhika Apte, Rohan Mehra
Directed by: Gauravv K. Chawla