After back-to-back hits of the comedies MAIN TERA HERO and HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA last year, the future of Varun Dhawan appeared to be bright. BADLAPUR, is a film completely opposite to Varun’s previous films. As such, he is expected to shine in this dark film. As for the director, Sriram Raghavan, his previous venture AGENT VINOD was a dud, despite some previous successful films like EK HASINA THI and JOHNNY GADDAAR. From the promotions and trailers, BADLAPUR promises to be an intriguing movie!
The film is about Raghu (Varun Dhawan) whose wife, Misha (Yami Gautam) and son are killed during a bank heist escape. The nabbed robber, Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) claimed that he did not kill Misha. On the contrary, he argues that it was his partner (Vinay Pathak). Regardless of whether he was telling the truth, Raghu began to see red. His motive became one thing, and one thing only…And that was Badla (revenge).
Before analysing anything else, I am going to address the elephant in the room… Yes, the performances. To begin with, Varun Dhawan essays a dark, distressed character that initially seemed like a hybrid of HAIDER and GHAJINI. Regardless, he portrayed the character realistically. He makes Raghu seem deadly, and pitiful. The good thing about Varun is that he does not overtly dramatise the character, he gets it just right. If there is someone who puts up a good fight, it is the ‘antagonist’ of the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He essays a character which compels you to sympathise with, and dislike at the same time. Not only does he display darkness, but there are shades of dark humour. Vinay Pathak does well as Nawaz’s partner. We are so used to watching him portray comical roles, it was interesting to watch him play a negative character. Now moving onto the actresses. Yami Gautam does a good job as Varun’s wife, we get to see Yami in snippets of flashbacks. Radhika Apte is impactful as Vinay’s wife. Divya Dutta also does a good job in playing a social activist. But the most impressive actress is Huma Qureshi. She plays the character, Jhimli, a prostitute who loves Liak. Huma was natural in her performance, as well as performing it pragmatically.
When I first saw the trailer, I thought the film would follow the footsteps of Mohit Suri’s EK VILLAIN. Thankfully, this is not the case. Therefore, a major strength of the film is the story, which is written by Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas. The storyline is not just a thriller but it also has elements of dark humour. But the strange thing is, the humour compliments with the serious and thrilling quotients. A specific mention to the ultimate confrontation scene between Nawaz and Varun.The way the conversation takes place between the two, is brilliant. It forces the audience to decide who actually is the bad guy in the situation (in the film, of course!)
However, there are a few negatives. Firstly, I felt that the first-half was dragged, and the pace was slightly slow… Although the story proceeded quickly. Secondly, I felt that the sex scenes were excessive and unnecessary. I know the film is supposed to be gritty and dark, etc. I felt that the scenes were not exactly required.
On the whole, Sriram Raghavan’s BADLAPUR deserves a watch. Violent, dark and gritty it is indeed, but the most important thing about the film, is its freshness. It’s a revenge story, there is no doubt about it. But this tale of vengeance is different, and different is good!