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Feb 20, 2015 07:42 PM 12382 Views
(Updated Feb 23, 2015 12:44 PM)






STATUTORY WARNING: This reviewer will not delve too much into the story of the movie, reckons a one line description will do just fine. For filmophiles who have suffered for years at the hands of sadistic reviewers including yours truly, all SPOILERS are at the end i.e. are only for those already done watching.

STORY: The title ofBADLAPUR makes it abundantly clear what the film is all about. A revenge saga albeit one that spans over many years.


Revenge. is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion – Jeremy Taylor

The underlying theme of most revenge flicks is the same. It is essentially about an underdog who triumphs over seemingly insurmountable odds. And we all love the underdog. Not surprising at all then that when crafted with skill and mounted on the right scale, most of these flicks rake the moolah at the box office. What better example can there be of this than Ramesh Sippy’sSHOLAY, arguably Hindi cinema’s greatest film. After an impressive debut inEK HASINA THI and an extraordinary follow up withJOHNNY GADDAR, director Shriram Raghavan came undone in his third outing, the almost pedestrianAGENT VINOD(going by the standards set by Raghavan himself) Does he get to redeem himself withBADLAPUR? Read on…


The role of Pooja Ladha Surti who has edited Raghavan’s last two films is extremely critical here as the story spans over a decade and fortunately she delivers and the pace nevers ebbs. After having worked with CK Murleedharan in all his films so far, Raghavan takes a calculated gamble by opting for Anil Mehta as his cameraman this time and it pays rich dividends. One of Raghavan’s big pluses is his technical finesse. AndBADLAPUR is right up there. From sound design to the background music to the action, it is all pulsating. Sachin-Jigar who have been composing great music for films which sadly are turning out to be turkeys at the box office(readGO GOA GONE, HAPPY ENDING, FINDING FANNY) might get their just deserts after this film. Special mention must be made of the trackJEE KARDA which truly is chart buster material.

Most of the actors inBADLAPUR in supporting characters( Ashwini Kalsekar, Zakir Hussain, Vinay Pathak) are regulars from Raghavan’s earlier ventures. Sadly their roles are too small to leave much of an impact.There are four pivotal female characters in here, Huma Qureshi as a prostitute(her best scenes are with Nawaz and they seem to have picked up from where they left off with the crackling chemistry that they enjoyed in Anurag Kashyap’s epicGANGS OF WASSEYPUR) Radhika Apte(looks ill at ease but has the most explosive scenes in the film) Divya Dutta as an NGO worker is all right and Yami Gautam passes muster.

Varun Dhawan in what is the ballsiest career choice for a young actor in commercial cinema pulls it off for most part. The only grouse one has with his performance is that he perhaps has bitten more than he can chew, let alone swallow. This is a role that needed an actor at the top of his game and one cannot help but feel that he would have done more justice to the character of Raghu four five years down the line. Which begs the question, what if Ranbir Kapoor had essayed the role.BADLAPUR would not be half of what it is without the character of Nawaaz’s Layak. Not sinceG.O.W. has he got a role which can challenge the supreme talent of this man who along with Irfan Khan is probably India’s finest actor. Whether it is the spine chilling prison saree scene, his umpteen confrontation scenes with Varun Dhawan or the lighthearted banter with his lover and his mother, you cannot take your eyes off this man.

Along with his writer brother, Sridhar Raghavan, Sriram has written a screenplay that a lover of noir films will relish. Just like the Hindi film heroine who cannot smoke, drink, swear and most of all has to be a virgin, the roles written for a hero in mainstream Indian cinema always pander to some clichés. With the cult role of Raghu, Raghavan has broken all these stereotypes forever. And I daresay, the ‘HINDI FILM KA HERO ‘ will never be the same again. By the end ofBADLAPUR, the victim has become a monster and strangely the tormentor walks away with all the sympathy. To say anything more would be tantamount to spoiling the fun of watching the film itself.

The downside of this( purely in box office terms) is thatBADLAPUR is not an easy film to watch, nor to appreciate. Especially those for whom a revenge saga means one man singlehandedly beating to pulp an army of goons. For them one has only two words to say, STAY AWAY.

The trouble for Shriram Raghavan afterBADLAPUR will be that whatever else he makes from now on, this film will be a hard act to follow.

Not for the faint hearted!


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