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31 Mar, 2017 ,
We all know what happened with the 2015 released Baby. It surprised us, thrilled us and fictionally showed the capacity of Indian Intelligence to a level that Pakistan banned the film. The writing was tight, the direction brilliant, performances worth remembering, screenplay that kept you at the edge of your seat. If you remember, Baby had a small yet an amazing role for Shabana, and I guess that's what gave the makers the idea to develop that.
Now, with that stage set, the makers decided to make a prequel and give Taapsee Pannu's character Shabana Khan some layers, depth or meaning. While there could have been a thousand different ways they could have portrayed the rise of the character, somehow the story telling lacks conviction and even fails at convincing you to believe in their world view. It seems the makers were trying very hard for a woman to stand strong and were unable to let her take charge, thus leaving the feminist in me very unhappy for not making Shabana Khan the "HERO" of the film.
Taapsee Pannu's character was supposed to be the HERO of the film, only it wasn't. For lack of better words, she was rather confused throughout the film, confused about where it was going maybe – just like the audience. But as an actor, I think she pulled off the emotions (read crying) and fighting pretty well. Akshay Kumar is the highlight, but hey the film wasn't supposed to be about him or else they would have named the film "Naam Ajay". Manoj Bajpai could have been used so much better, by maybe giving him some dark shades or plain kadak life coach kinda shade, but I guess, the makers were lost in translation. Prithviraj Sukumaran's performance as the bad guy is convincing. Anupam Kher and Danny Denzongpa a delight, like always.
Background Music was well done, at times hightening the emotions not portrayed in the scenes. So, you expect the big bang to come in, the theatre is booming and you're waiting for the big element of story being unfolded, and it doesn't.
Music score is fair to say the least. None of the songs stick, maybe because the characters are so not relatable and neither are their circumstances. So songs didn't add to the storytelling, but worked as a distraction.
The film could have been shorter, like cut it by half and maybe then the film would have been tight enough to be a gripping tale. Shivam Nair's direction seems to lay flat as the storytelling is rather bland and lacks the punch I was hoping it would come with. Also, he fails to get Taapsee to act. Then again, it was a Neeraj Pandey film, only he wasn't directing it.
Sometimes what you write is better imagined in your own head, not when you actually try and turn it into a film. That is exactly the case of this film. As a writer, it was a beautiful plot, an unusual tale of a woman James Bond, only not depicted as well as imagined. The screenplay is just average with nothing out of the ordinary.
I went to see a Neeraj Pandey film, but could only see a brilliant plot failing badly. I tried very hard to see the sense of many angles brought about in the film, but the film fails to convince me. Heart to heart, I am a feminist, thus, I went to see full on "Girl Power", but came out with "Confused Girl Powerless
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