Wazir: Starts promisingly, unravels badly

What good is a thriller if it doesn’t take you to the edge of the seat and hold you there? Despite starting off promisingly with slick production values and good performances to boot Wazir unravels badly, especially in the second half as it heads towards the climax. There is a small reveal that you are able to deduce even as the concerned character is being introduced and then there’s a big disclosure, meant to be riveting, that feels utterly silly and leaves you unconvinced and indifferent. Moreover, the clumsy explanation of all the details of the slender plot and the spoon-feeding of the audience makes it even worse. It even takes away any pretence to intrigue that the entire construct may have had.

Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, Manav Kaul, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, Seema Pahwa, Prakash Belawade
Run time: 1 Hour 42 minutes

However, it starts off all nicely. 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.

Also read: >‘If you were to put me under one umbrella, call me a storyteller’

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 10:27:16 AM |

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