“Kisi form main jo religion waala column hota hai na, usme hum bold aur capital main, INDIAN likhte hain.”
In a sequence in Baby, we have a secretary of a big government official talking garbage about the officers who die for their country, in a sort-off unexpected reaction you see Ajay (Akshay Kumar), who stands up, closes the door and showers one tight slap on his face. Baby had couple other similar scenes that made the little Indian in me rejoice and clap to it.
When the U.S seals went into Abbotabad and gunned down Osama and his companions, many people in India wished we could replicate it and get the most wanted terror-names that are sheltered in Pakistan. Neeraj Pandey does a celluloid expansion of that wish when the special task force working under the iniquitous name ‘Baby’ goes into Saudi Arabia to get Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon), the mastermind who has planned a series of disaster (or as one of the terrorist refer to ‘Bohot saari Diwaaliyan’) in India. But trim and tough officer Ajay comes back with unexpected bonus.
After A Wednesday! and Special 26, one has come to expect a certain style and sleakness from Neeraj Pandey and he lives up to it. Baby is a brilliant looking thriller that does go into the overly melodramatic Bollywood cliche quite a few times but manges to thrill you for each and every second of it. Neeraj Pandey keeps his standard issued twist and turn out this time, and makes a straight-forward nail biting thriller. He also gives up the typical song and dance that interrupted and almost ruined his previous film ‘Special 26’.
Though a thriller like this should have been around 2 hours which is exceedingly long by about half and hour. Also by avoiding a twist in the tail, some poweful actors like Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa & Kay Kay Menon get uni-dimensional role that require more presence than performance from them. However, Baby is ideal republic day fare and one hopes that people get to see our dumbed down but still good version of Zero Dark Thirty & Argo.
Akshay Kumar had been cast perfectly here and two my suprise he finally stars in a film that doesn’t suck. There are subtle humorous and funny sequences where his tough guy outlook suits better than his usual cheap clown like persona. Tapsee Pannu has a sequence in the film that completely took me by surprise. Do watch out for her. Rana Daggubati as the gym-tonned hulk has been perfectly casted, even Neeraj knows that giving him dialogues would have been a bad idea and his character sticks to kicking ass, rather than talking for no reason.
Final Verdict: Baby manages to deliver the goods that it promised. There is gritty action, non-stop thrills, amazing mood and style and a seemingly cool patriotic flavor. Go watch it!