'Badlapur' Movie Review

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Starring: Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Yami Gautam, Vinay Pathak, Radhika Apte, Divya Dutta & Huma Qureshi
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Producer: Dinesh Vijan & Sunil Lulla
Cinematography: Anil Mehta
How far would you go to seek revenge for an unpardonable act? ‘Badlapur’ answers this in an entertaining & troubling manner. All this while, keeping you engaged as you wonder if you can ever judge good and bad in a linear way.
The film is a tale of Raghu’s revenge, whose beautiful life, with a pretty, loving wife & young son is torn apart by an act of mindless, spur of the moment violence (Varun Dhawan as Raghu & Yami Gautam as his wife). A team of two commits these crimes but one masterminds it on the spot- Layak. (Nawazuddin Sidiqqui). He is nabbed by the police even as his partner escapes and is never arrested (Vinay Pathak). Even as 15 years pass by, Raghu is unable to forgive. He goes through the motions of existence.
He is jolted out of his despair driven stupor when a rather stylish NGO worker (Divya Dutta) enters his life, convincing him to help release Layak. Layak, broken & battered from many failed attempts at escaping jail, is now ill. Neither does he ever admit to committing the crimes nor does he spill the name of his partner. Raghu finds a window of opportunity to finally find his revenge. Here begins a slow, elaborate, visually shocking yet fascinating process of seeking revenge. The film ends with a surprising twist when lines of justification blur even as the seeker might yet turn prey.
Rarely do I write such a long summary for a film. This time it is warranted, as the plot is engagingly complex & packed with turns and twists. Far from being a visually stylized film, ‘Badlapur’ uses rare technique of real sound and natural raw visual bumps to shcok & awe the audience. Raghavan’s narrative is peppered with noir making you laugh at the black humour underwritten in everyday incidents. A few scenes, especially one with the prostitute and Raghu, both shock you & make you admire the filmmaker’s guts. Each character in the film, including the prostitute (played by Huma Querishi), the policeman & the crook’s wife (Radhika Apte) add to its drama. The second half is somewhat haphazard, but in this roller coaster ride of a script, you don’t get bored. And the end makes you think, a task that is rare at multiple levels in all things Bollywood!
Having said that, this is not a typical entertainer at all. It’s for those who have an appetite for non-glossy, hard hitting & raw cinema.
The film’s performances bring alive the script’s complexities. Varun Dhawan has achieved physical transformation ably, and for a young actor, has done an efficient job. Amongst the four actresses, Yami Gautam has little to do but looks luminous. Radhika Apte delivers a stellar performance. But the best of the lot is Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Layak. He captures the sheer monotony of a jailbird, and the irony of staying locked up out of a strange sense of loyalty, masterfully. It’s almost as if he was born as this character- that’s the level of conviction by this actor. Matching his range onscreen does prove uphill for the young Dhawan; but that’s not to take away from his commendable effort. That he picked this role, in itself, is worth lauding.
But the last word must be saved for Sriram Raghavan who combines quirk with realism effortlessly. In writing ‘Badlapur’, he has tried out an impulsive story telling style and brought out the best from his cast.
The Final Verdict
BADLAPUR is worth 80 percent of your ticket value- if you are the kind who enjoys watching twisted, psychologically testing entertainment. I would advise definitely give it a chance.

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