Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, Neil Nitin Mukesh
Its starts off all nicely with a song in slow-motion, Tere Bin, that speedily sets up the central characters, relationships and context. An excitingly shot terrorist encounter and shootout and an ATS officer Danish (Farhan Akhtar) and an old, physically challenged man Omkar Nath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan) bonding over the grief of their lost daughters. Will Danish help Dhar out while Dhar tries to mend a broken Danish and his wife Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hydari)? Their shared sorrow tugs at the heart-strings and you wonder if this thriller too would rest on the theme of loss, as did Reema Kagti’s Talaash.
However, the script gets into twists and knots in trying to do too many things. As a result it is unable to remain faithful to any of the strands, be it the theme of loss, the metaphors from the game of chess, the backdrop of the Kashmir issue–with the token Kashmiri Pandit, good and bad Muslims–or even as a regular thriller with a shadowy, deranged psychopath lurking in the background. In fact, it’s a rare tug of nostalgia—be it a song like Aao huzoor tumko or Ghalib’s Neend kyun raat bhar nahin aati; or an odd engaging scene like playing chess with vodka shots; or a nice turn of phrase like Bachchan talking of “kifayat ke zamane mein mohabbat (love in the times of emotional parsimony)” that bring things alive for a flicker.
Bachchan is reliable as ever, particularly with grief written all over his broken face. Aditi is teary-eyed and vulnerable all the way through. Interesting actors like Prakash Belawade, Seema Pahwa and even a star like John, are turned more into background props than full fledged characters and the graph of Manav’s persona is too predictable for his energy and effort to be effective in any way. It’s Farhan of the first half, plunging the depths of emotions, who makes you take note of him as a dramatic performer. However, by the time we get to the end even he seems jaded and lacklustre. Like the film itself.
Like most of Bejoy Nambiar’s movies, this one’s quite stylish too. Fortunately, Bejoy concentrates on dramatic presentations of realistic scenes. What works against the film, however, is loads of groan worthy cliches, predictable storyline and worst of all, it also suffers from the common woe of most Bollywood thrillers; lack of subtlety. There is nothing left to audience’s imagination as the director goes about painstakingly explaining every move, every turn of the story.
‘Wazir’ is a good, one time watch.