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Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha review – Violent vigilante action film that can’t see beyond revenge angle

Release Date: 08 Jul 2022 / Rated: A / 02hr 26min

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Sonal Pandya

The Vidyut Jammwal-starrer, written and directed by Faruk Kabir, is stuck in a rut, slotting its characters as black and white.

Faruk Kabir’s Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha (2022), the sequel to Khuda Haafiz (2020), is all about trauma and revenge. The first film, which was premiered on Disney+ Hotstar, featured Vidyut Jammwal as Sameer, a desperate husband who has to save his wife Nargis (Shivaleeka Oberoi) from a sex-trafficking ring.

Khuda Haafiz review: Vidyut Jammwal is subdued in this raw, emotional drama

In the sequel, the Chaudharys have to bear a new cross after they adopt five-year-old Nandini (Riddhi Sharma), only to lose her in a heinous manner, spurring Sameer on a vicious path to revenge.

The couple, who had only begun to put their lives back together after the events of the last film, look on helplessly as the law can do nothing to protect their little girl. It falls upon Sameer to take matters into his own hands once again, as he is transformed from mild-mannered husband and father to a revenge-fuelled vigilante.

The first half of Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2, written and directed by Kabir, looks at the rocky road for the couple, who are estranged from each other despite many counselling sessions with a patient therapist. But once little Nandini enters their lives, it seems they have healed. Temporarily, as it turns out.

After Nandini and another older girl Seema (Anushka Marchande) are abducted by a group of entitled teenagers, the film, set in April 2011, moves from family drama to retribution saga. The ringleader of this act happens to be the grandson of Sheela Thakur (Sheeba Chadha), who wields power over law and order in Lucknow and makes evidence and witnesses disappear, thanks to her loyal lackey, the butcher Rashid (Dibyendu Bhattacharya).

Desperate, Sameer tries to lead an investigation of his own, landing himself with a prison sentence. The second half feels like a different film as Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 moves from action set piece to action set piece, from Lucknow to Egypt, as Sameer moves to eliminate all those who have wronged Nandini and his family.

The stunts and fights are mostly hand-to-hand, with sharp weapons and occasional firearms, and the action is quite violent. Jammwal’s hero improves upon the original, whereupon he snaps into action earlier, instead of at the last moment. But the film seems to stress that vigilantism is the only option in cases like these.

While Jammwal and Oberoi’s characters stay the same as the first film, the sequel adds new blood in the form of Chaddha, Bhattacharya and Rajesh Tailang as an earnest TV reporter. While Bhattacharya and Tailang don’t get much to do, Chaddha is painted as new big bad, which she conveys quite menacingly.

Unimaginatively, the screenplay is stuck in slotting its characters as black and white. Characters are all-out evil or good; there is no room for development, only seething revenge.

Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha was released in theatres on 8 July.


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