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Baadshaho review: Tried and tested action saga has more style than substance

Release Date: 01 Sep 2017 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 16min

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Keyur Seta

The film, starring Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi, does not provide the punch one would have expected from the team that gave us Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.

Milan Luthria and Ajay Devgn have done two action dramas in the past — Kachche Dhaage (1999) and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010). Both films had favourable outcomes at the box office. For their latest outing Baadshaho, the director and the actor were joined by Emraan Hashmi and dialogue writer Rajat Arora, the two who played big roles in the success of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. But the reunion has not produced a great result this time. Baadshaho is just a tried-and-tested action flick that has more style than substance. 

The film starts off in 1973 in a town in Rajasthan. Maharani Gitanjali (Ileana D’Cruz) is the sole heir of the royal family after her father passes away. As she is unmarried, people wonder who would be the family’s successor. During a party at her house, Sanjeev (Priyanshu Chatterjee), one of the senior leaders in government, makes sexual advances towards her. But Gitanjali not only gives him the cold shoulder, but also humiliates him. 

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When the Emergency is declared in 1975, Sanjeev avenges the insult by getting Gitanjali arrested on charges of hiding huge amounts of unaccounted gold in her bungalow. The government plans to confiscate the wealth and transport it to Delhi. Army officer Seher Singh (Vidyut Jammwal) is given the responsibility of the transfer. Gitanjali is sure the government will only fill its pockets with the wealth. Hence, she asks her security in-charge and lover Bhawani (Ajay Devgn) to form a team and capture the wealth while it is en route Delhi.

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Bhawani is Gitanjali’s most trusted aide who is even ready to lay down his life for her. He builds a team comprising the streetsmart thief Dalia (Emraan Hashmi), the lock expert Tikla (Sanjai Mishra) and Sanjana (Esha Gupta), who works with Gitanjali.

Baadshaho has the necessary elements that one would expect from a typical masala Hindi film with strong heroes, fights, lots of style, stunts, punchlines, romance, songs, oomph factors, etc. The screenplay is fast so it is easy to sit through the film. And like Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, this film, too, has a signature tune in the background that provides a kick. The editing and camerawork, too, are praiseworthy. Although Arora is not in a great form, he shows his mark in a few dialogues. 

These points, however, aren’t enough to make Baadshaho an enjoyable action ride. As most of the story development happens in the first half, that too not entirely convincingly, there is not much to narrate later. So we are presented with the cliched and illogical methods of outsmarting the opponents, which we have been witnessing for ages. The climax, surprisingly, is too abrupt. 

But the biggest problem with Baadshaho lies in a loophole in the primary plot, of transferring gold from Rajasthan to Delhi. There are only two people on the truck. Although the truck is a hi-tech vehicle, why not send a team of officers or policemen when carrying something so enormously valuable? 

From the songs, ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’, which is a remake of the old Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classic, is the only one that provides satisfaction. 

As far as the performances are concerned, Devgn is most convincing, although he may not be at his best. He fits the character of Bhawani and does well in action sequences too. However, one can’t help but notice that age is fast catching up with him when he is seen romancing a much younger woman. Hashmi plays a stereotypical, one-dimensional character. D’Cruz is much better than in her previous outings like Rustom (2016) and Mubarakan (2017). 

However, Esha Gupta just can’t act. Period. She doesn’t have much to do either, which turns out to be a blessing. Jammwal performs action and stunts with ease. He also succeeds in providing a menacing effect. Sanjai Mishra once again shows his dependability. Sharad Kelkar is fine in a cameo. Chatterjee’s character is modelled on the late Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi. His act is quite lifeless. 

Overall, Baadshaho doesn’t provide the punch that one would have expected from the team that gave us Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.