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Naqaab review: Lengthy film with absurd storyline and lame dialogues

Release Date: 21 Sep 2018 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 40min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

A film on such a ludicrous theme needs a strong script to make it funny and relevant. That is exactly what lacks here.

Even if one considers keeping aside logical reasoning for the sake of the film, one is going to end up incessantly bored and irritated with Rajiv Kumar Biswas’s Naqaab, starring Shakib Khan, Nusrat Jahan and Sayantika Banerjee.

The horror-comedy is supposed to entertain the audience, but the endless twists in the incredibly lengthy film take away all the patience from its viewers.

Given the genre, the film, which is the remake of Tamil film Massu Engira Masilamani (2015), has no connection to the reality, rather it is absurd and funny only on few occasions. The moments supposed meant to give comic relief lack substance, engaging performance and proper delineation; they are unnecessarily detailed and exhausting, instead. The film also includes excessive violence, bereft of any entertaining element.

Mass (Shakib Khan) and his simpleton accomplice (Rudranil Ghosh) are conmen and loot people. Mass bumps into Diya (Nusrat Jahan), who is a nurse and falls in love with her at the first sight. He promises to arrange money for her promotion to the post of head nurse but is soon tracked by the thugs he has robbed. He and his friend meet with an accident while on the run from the goons.

Quite strangely, Mass begins to see spirits of dead people after the accident and learns that his friend is dead too. Soon, he learns that the spirits have unfulfilled wishes and want Mass's help to fulfil those.

Naqaab trailer: Shakib Khan plays a double role again

The twist comes when Mass meets a spirit, who looks exactly like him. He gets Mass in trouble by promising to guide him to a huge amount of money and instead leads him to a series of incidents. The rest of the story deals with the mystery behind the background and the intentions of this identical-looking spirit that leads Mass into a game of revenge.

The film has so many subplots that it doesn’t follow a logical course of action. There is no explanation behind many of the sequences. The film is mostly a confused oscillation between subplots.

There are only a few moments involving Ghosh that induce laughter. The revelation of the death of Mass’s best friend is one of them. On the other hand, the film can tick itself out from the ‘horror’ genre as not a single moment in the film scares the audience. It is clear that the director has made no such attempt either.

Though the protagonist here falls in love, there is hardly any exposition to the romance quotient of the film.

Shakib Khan can be taken for granted for appearing unintentionally funny with his superficial mannerisms and dialogues which he never seems to own. The film is mostly about watching him, as Mass or Indrajit, doing some action scenes or emoting, for three long hours.

Nusrat Jahan has tried to do her best for her character. However, the pretty nurse has little agency in the film. Unfortunately, the film carries on the hero-stalking-heroine trope. Jahan's character is unapologetically stalked by Mass and she eventually gives in to all his persuasions.

Sayantika Banerjee basically plays a cameo in the film. She dances and manages to kick some of the villains, adding to the glamour quotient in the film.

The only moments of relief in the film is brought by Ghosh, who manages to shine in comic roles, irrespective of the script. His expressions often manage to create hilarious moments. Kharaj Mukherjee and Supriyo Dutta, too, lend life to their villainous characters.

The absurd storyline is worsened by NK Salil's slow screenplay. Gopi Bhagat and Premendu Bikash Chaki’s camerawork and Mohammad Kalam’s editing, with unnecessary special effects, has resulted in a jarring experience for most of the film's duration.

'Tor Hanta Chola' song composed by Dev Sen and sung by Armaan Malik and Prashmita Paul is romanctic, but the visuals are as clichéd as they could have been. 'Tokhon Baje Barota' song can only be watched because of the stunning avatar of Jahan in it.

The reviewer wonders how a filmmaker can rely on a script replete with lame dialogues, without caring for the sensibilities of the audience.

A film on such a ludicrous theme needs a strong script to make it either satirical or relevant in some way. It requires a simpler storyline, fast screenplay and engaging performances, too. Naqaab lacks all of these, and most importantly, every artiste but the protagonist has tried to bring the best.

The approach of both, the director and actor Shakib Khan, shows that they have undermined the masses and have take them for granted.

Watch the film's trailer below:



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