'Batla House' review: Fails to arrest attention, but John Abraham fans should watch
The first half of 'Batla House' is watchable but slowly the film swerves off-track and becomes a confusing plot.
Batla House, as the name suggests, is based on a real encounter of September 2008 that saw two students being gunned down by Delhi Police on suspicion of being linked with a terror outfit. However, the film is far from based on the real-life incident of Batla House.
John Abraham plays assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Sanjay Kumar who leads the Batla House encounter. A sub-inspector is killed in the encounter which was supposed to be a mere investigation of the Batla House, and the blame is slammed on the ACP. His life becomes misery as he runs pillar to post to prove he is not guilty of any misdeeds.
From facing public fury and political pressure alleging he faked the encounter to get the sub-inspector killed, Abraham goes through an agonizing time which takes a toll on his married life as well. His relationship with his wife, who works as a TV journalist, is also marred by the turmoil.
The cornered ACP fights to prove his innocence and goes beyond the limits of law or legality.
The first-half of Batla House is watchable but slowly the film swerves off-track and becomes a confusing plot. The police embarks to a village in Uttar Pradesh to nab the villain and there the mindless action starts. In a remote village, a dancer (Nora Fatehi) pops up with an item song from nowhere, enthralling the benighted bunch of villagers. The second-half is a rushed, confused and thoughtless investigation which ends in a court room drama that is too unreal to believe.
The high-packed Batla House ends up into a mere investigation drama giving a feel TV series like Crime Patrol or CID. In the end the ACP gets justice and is proved innocent. His estranged wife also seems to have reconciled with him and the audience is left oblivious of the reason of the rift between the couple.
Screenplay is full of mistakes. Too fictitious for a film based on a real-life incident. It lacks substance in the story that audience can connect with emotionally.
Dialogues are good. In some scenes and situations some dialogues are very good.
There are two or three songs, and they are all good.
In accordance to the way Batla House turns out, action seems to be okay. The location seems real as most scenes are shot in Uttar Pradesh.
Direction by Nikkhil Advani is too weak for a film like Batla House. It seems like an investigative series from either BBC or TV series like Crime Patrol. For a big film with a massive plot, direction could have been stupendous.
John Abraham, Ravi Kishen and Mrunal Thakur have all given good performance.
Batla House is more an investigation-based movie rather than the real encounter that shook the nation. And that's why only a select audience is likely to like the film. People would watch an investigative crime series at home as it fails to give the goosebumps of the infamous encounter. I can say it's not an unmissable movie and can be watched to pass time on a weekend.
But die-hard John Abraham fans might go watch.
Rating: 2 stars
Film: Batla House
Cast: John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur, Ravi Kishan, Manish Chaudhari and Rajesh Sharma
Director: Nikkhil Advani
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes