Review: Should you see Baadshaho in UAE this Eid Al Adha weekend?
Director Milan Luthria's Baadshaho is adequately thrilling but allows supernatural heroics to take over a promising plot
First things first: Baadshaho, Ajay Devgn's thriller-heist outing, is mercifully not another Shivay. The action is more believable, and the film has a core plot giving room for most characters to stand on their feet.
As a heist movie, Baadshaho works adequately, and lends justice to its original premise, based on the real-life mystery relating to the missing wealth of a royal family that lost its moorings in post-Independent India.
Baadshaho is also true to the milieu of director Milan Luthria. After exploring the seedy underbelly of Mumbai (in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai), hetakes his tested craft to Rajasthan, and plants his favourite actors Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashimi on a chase that is replete with deceit, treachery and double-crossing.
With writer Rajat Arora, the name behind many interesting films (including Luthria's The Dirty Picture), Baadshaho, however, could have been stronger and punchier if only it resisted its urge for unneeded heroism and repetitive punch-line delivery from practically everyone in the cast.
We have Devgan going on about how life is all about four days and today is his fourth, while Hashimi has to chip in the story of his friend, who gets into trouble all the time, and well, dies.
But for its silliness in the dialogue-department, Baadshaho finds its bearings as it gets into heist mode. Things start rather slow as we are introduced to Gitanjali (Ileana D'Cruz), a newly crowned princess, imprisoned for not declaring her hidden wealth - and her wealth is confiscated.
Now, as she tells the police, her saviour will come. That is Bhawani Singh (Devgn) her former bodyguard, who swears his life and word upon her. Assembling a lock-cracker (Sanjay Mishra), a side-kick - tattooed, in cheap T-shirts and a lady's man - Dalia (Hashimi) and a friend of Gitanjali, Sanjana (Esha Gupta), Bhawani sets out to steal the wealth being secretly carted away to a politician Sanjeev (with an actor who has uncanny resemblance to Sanjay Gandhi). The four have to fight an army officer Sheher Singh (Vidyut Jamwal), and what unfolds, including the many sudden twists, make for Baadshaho.
Set in the infamous Emergency period, the film subtly reminds of the 'sterlisation' drive orchestrated by the government, and has a brilliant moment when Gitanjali comes across the ire of the common folks from a woman struggling under a merciless sun. This is not a film about the Emergency era and naturally, the plight of the people is not the focus. But a bit more depth, as Luthria gave to his Mumbai stories and The Dirty Picture, could have taken Baadshaho to a higher level.
In addition to some compelling action, also on the plus side is the real-life mystery of the wealth that is intelligently handled; there are no filmy 'usual' resolves to the conflict, which again is a bold move. The boldest is how Luthria and Devgn give screen space for all - Vidyut Jamwal, for example; he often steals the scene. Every actor does justice to his/her roles.
Stronger writing with less of the repetitive lines, firmer editing, and more realistic approach to the central narrative without the predictable invincibility of the protagonists could have made Baadshaho a more compelling film. For now, it is strictly time-pass.
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashimi, Ileana D'Cruz
Directed by Milan Luthria
Now playing at theatres in the UAE