Some Thoughts on Badlapur

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Well, everything has already been said about Badlapur. So I have no intention of writing a lengthy review. Despite the disappointment of Agent Vinod, I always look forward to Sriram Raghavan films as I always considered him to be a technically capable director. Earlier he used to take excruciating 4-5 years for every movie. But thankfully he seems to have enhanced his pace of late. So, I just want to list out a few points that came to my mind after watching it.

  • Firstly, why does Yami Gautam gets such a raw deal in every film? After Vicky Donor I thought she will climb to the top tier. But now I am seeing her in two films in a row, playing the same role of a wife who gets thrashed by goons and leaves behind a brooding husband seeking revenge. Probably one needs to speak with weird accent or look plastic in order to bag big projects nowadays.
  • Thankfully, other two women gets much more exiting, albeit small roles. Huma Qureshi is excellent as a prostitute, so is Radhika Apte as the wife of a much older man.
  • Media and Bollywood celebrities as usual are hyping Varun Dhawan’s performance as usual but it is Nawazuddin who carries the film. People were whistling and clapping for his every antic. Who said people clapped only for the heroes with six packs?
  • It is also good to see veteran actors like Vinay Pathak, Ashwini Kalsekar, Zakir Hussain and Kumud Mishra in various supporting roles. Their roles are limited, but they show what real actors can do.
  • In comparison, Dhawan tries hard, but will need a lot more work to become a genuine thespian. I found his initial scenes unconvincing. Maybe because I did not like his diction, which is the problem with all new star kids. I never had the courage to watch his previous films, so lack of familiarity made it even more jarring. But thankfully he improves as the film progresses and looks more like the character after a few reels.
  • Why was that silly item song necessary at the end? I am sure the people who are paying watch such a film are not dying to see an item number in this film.

Anyways, let what I want to express more is about the ending. Badlapur was mostly a satisfactory watch. It delivered what exactly was expected from Raghavan, a sleek, noir treatment with clever references to past films and literature.  It is not exactly a thriller. We already know who killed whom. But that is not a surprise considering Johnny Gaddar was also in the same vein. But my problem was the last five minutes or so. These few minutes prevented it from a completely satisfactory experience. Don’t get me wrong. I do not mind the way it ended or the fact that they were trying to deliver some sort of a message. But it did not look very convincing. It just did not have the emotional impact it was supposed to have.

In fact such a film could end in multiple ways. It could have been a traditional revenge drama with a bloody but satisfactory end and that would have been a crowd pleasure too. But Raghavan has bigger thematic ambitions and so he chooses to take a risk. But whatever he tried required a bit of lingering poignancy rather than the abrupt and half-baked finishing. Not sure if he planned it that way or the editor chopped a few extra scenes. Anyone who has seen Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Three Monkey will get the point. Raghavan is back in form with Badlapur. But hopefully next time he nails the climax too.

 

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