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Goodwill Vs Hostility: Badlapur Review

Raghu‘s wife┬áMisha┬á(Yami Gautam) is reading a book ‘Don’t Look Now‘, Raghu points out to his wife,- I can write a better ending than that. As Badlapur ends and the curtain falls, it leaves you choked, stunned and deeply dissatisfied. A genuine cinema lover will instantly stand up and give the film a clap, others will just move along unflinching in angst of having watched a film that is definitely not worth their appetite. I can ensure you all, that if you are one of those ‘Ek Hasina Thi‘ lovers and ‘Agent Vinod‘ haters you will definitely love┬áSriram Raghavan’s┬álatest outing because┬áBadlapur┬áis a dark, eerie, hilarious take on the two sides of a person. Those two sides which everyone posses but tries not to bring it out of the closet.

To my surprise,┬áBadlapur┬áis not as violent as the trailers suggested. On the contrary its a brilliant dark comedy that has revenge, grief and forgiveness as the undertones. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch that┬áMr. Sriram Raghvan┬ágoes ahead and makes a film that he totally has control over, unlike the bad┬áAgent Vinod┬áthat missed his trademark style,┬áBadlapur┬ágives you all the goods you come to expect from┬áRaghvan┬áand makes it work right from the first frame to the last.

What makes┬áBadlapur┬ádifferent from any average Bollywood thriller? For starters, unlike most films ┬áthat builds up its characters in a time span of 20-30 minutes and get instantly into a thrill ride,┬áRaghvan┬áplays it meticulously. His characters evolve and develop all throughout the film. Be it the protagonist or the antagonist or even when their defined spaces swap, they evolve and develop with every twist in the tale.┬áBadlapur┬ádoesn’t give the audience a chance to hold on to any character and love them, he gives you a blunt and twisted look to goodwill and sadness. Even it its darkest moments the film manages to give you guilty laughs. Where do you find that in Bollywood?

Badlapur┬áis not just a revenge thriller, its a film that tells the audience that they need to come out of their usual movie-watching scene and embrace the new-age cinema with open arms because – There’s more coming. Remember how the character of┬áNeil Nitin Mukesh┬áin┬áJohnny Gaddaar┬ágets inspired by watching┬áVijay Anand’s┬á‘Johnny Mera Naam‘?┬áRaghavan┬áhas thrown a sweet little throwback to the 70s films yet again. It’s┬áRamesh Sippy’s Sholay┬áthat gets a Sriram Raghvan treatment. Even though it doesn’t meander with the plot it was amazing to see a throwback, not only to the 70’s but also to his own film.

I haven’t seen anyone in Bollywood tackling noir this well.┬áMr. Raghvan┬átakes great pleasure in feeding the audiences a bunch of torn characters on the verge of losing it, and with them he also feeds us lies, lies which every human being is all set to say. He then builds up a story that doesn’t let you believe that what’s on the screen is in actuality – a brutal truth. There are subtle sign of humanity in his characters, as┬áRaghu (Varun)┬ásits down in one of the cafe’s thinking about his past you get to see the emotional stride, the one that makes him go-along. But with other scenes he also shows how wrong or right he is. As confusing as it may seem, there is a certain thing that keeps you going.

As much as the film is about┬áRaghu┬áand his revenge, its equally about┬áLiak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui)┬áwhose filmy ethics and cringe-worthy swag makes you hate him but simultaneously you get to see his life and his relationship with his mother and an equally unlikable┬áJhimli (Huma)┬áwhich gives you an insight that you can’t hate him entirely. Master stoke┬áMr. Raghvan.┬á

With an ensemble cast that has many of Raghavan regulars from Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddaar, Badlapur relies heavily on  performances and they are in abundance. Be it the amazing Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has nothing to stop him from being the greatest actor of our generation to the brooding, grief-stricken Varun Dhawn everyone has their characters and characteristics done right. There are no cliched dance sequences, no forced musical number and no stupidity whatsoever.

Final Verdict: The film will leave you with an after-taste that is not exactly joyful. But as sadistic as it may seem, you have to taste it first.

Rating: 4.5/5

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