Hindi Features

Baadshaho Review: A High-Strung Drama With Some Middling Action

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What would you say about a movie where the heroine, after days, if not months in incarceration, walks out with coiffured hair and wearing a chiffon sari and a string of pearls, like she’s just out of a party? And then, proceeds to run across the desert.

Baadshaho is that kind of film. Shot in present-day India, but speaking of the 1970s, when the privy purse was abolished and many royal families faced financial ruin, and Emergency ensured no one raised a voice in protest. The film is about queen Gitanjali, who wants to lay her hands on the family gold that’s been seized. Nymph-like and always speaking about how she’s alone, she gets people to do her bidding. Enter Ajay Devgn (trusted security head Bhavani) and his motley band of Emraan Hashmi, Sanjay Mishra and Esha Gupta, and Vidyut Jamwal.

What everyone seeks is a sophisticated truck full of gold that must be spirited away before it lands in the hand of a wily politician out to destroy Gitanjali because she spurned him.

What you expect is two-odd hours of nail-biting drama and thrill. What you get, instead, is middling action but also Sunita Radia’s magical cinematography that makes you rub your eyes after a dust storm and feel the heat of the desert.

I longed to re-watch director Milan Luthria’s Kachche Daage, again set in Rajasthan, but with so much more heart.

It’s a crime to waste Ajay Devgn, known to be a searing presence in the hands of an able director, in a role where all he does is brood and talk of living up to his word. Emraan tries his best to bring some levity in the proceedings, but Esha Gupta does that without having to try much — a scene where she laughs and then proceeds to cry because she’s hungry is a case in point. It’s so incongruous, you burst out laughing. There’s Vidyut Jamwal too, playing an Army officer, all gelled hair and twirled mustache, and lots of hot air. He does the action sequences with feline grace, though.

Oh yes, before I forget, there’s an absolutely pointless Sunny Leone number with Emraan too, with her bathing in a barrel.

Some films looks good on paper. This might have too. It has possibilities, but each one of them has been squandered. There’s much scope for a subtle play of emotions, but then, it loses in front of the need for high-strung drama.

Ileana D’Cruz’s character is most promising. On paper. Is she what she looks like? But, she’s unidimensional, and we lose interest in the character. And, why, oh why, can’t we have female leads who think for themselves, and flaunt their intelligence?

Great actors shine even in mediocre scripts. That’s where you have Sanjay Mishra. The sleight of hand, the naughty twinkle in his eyes and his body language linger in the mind for long.

In all, a film that could have been an edge-of-the-seat thriller, but ends up being one that you wish you watched on a reclining chair.

*****

The Baadshaho review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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