‘Baazaar’ review: Collapse at Dalal Street

A still from the movie.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

I have always been intrigued by the cardboard boxes that suddenly spring up on screen in post-liberalisation Hindi films, when a character is fired or resigns from office and has to pack all his belongings away. Quite like the proverbial takeaway coffee in the hands of busy professionals as they rush on the streets of New York. These hallmark images of Hollywood cinema have been getting randomly retrofitted into Bollywood without any sense of context. So in Baazaar too, the SEBI investigators keep the paperwork on the dubious dealings of the blatantly unscrupulous market player Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan, styled on Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko in Wall Street) in neat cardboard boxes. This minor quibble aside the unthinking replication of the 1987 Oliver Stone film Wall Street (albeit with a convenient closure) has debutante Rohan Mehra as young, small town broker (Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox in the original). He idolises Kothari but eventually finds himself clashing with him in the stock-trading war.

  • Director: Gauravv K Chawla
  • Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Rohan Mehra, Radhika Apte, Chitrangada Singh, Manish Chaudhury
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Storyline: Young, small-town stockbroker Rizwan moves to the big bad city to follow in the footsteps of his idol, the unscrupulous market player Shakun Kothari

Capital management, inside information, illegal telecom bids, illicit trading, corrupt governance—all the financial games and jargon play out in a convoluted “back and forth in time” narrative. To honour Hindi cinema, the borrowed Western plot is peppered with songs, romance et al. But the film remains resolutely protracted and boring with some laughable lines, especially when it comes to the stereotypical small town-big city divide and 100 metre sprint versus the marathon comparisons.

The only thing noteworthy about Rohan Mehra are his dimples. Khan sports a neat streak of grey hair which keeps coming and going, much like his Gujarati accent. His clipped English/Hindi overrides it most times. Moreover he is unbendingly stiff, stern and deadpan to communicate a rather facetious sense of menace. In the gender-insensitive (also homophobic) world, the women are marginalised in the most cringing manner possible. Radhika Apte spends most of her time looking at Mehra lovingly and longingly and Chitrangada Singh as Khan’s wife keeps posturing in the name of acting, putting her best pout forward, whether smiling, fighting, arguing or sporting glycerine wet eyes in the name of emotions. Most cringeworthy, however, are the in-film nods to PayTm and Rustomjee group.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 3:03:47 AM |

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