‘Khuda Haafiz’ Movie Review: Even Vidyut Jammwal’s raw action and Uzbekistan’s exotic locales can’t save this outdated film
Kumar Mangat Pathak, Abhishek Pathak
Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Annu Kapoor, Shiv Panditt, Aahana Kumra, Vipin Sharma, Nawab Shah
Bollywood Bubble Rating
What’s It About
Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi fall in love after their arranged marriage. Soon after, there is the great depression of 2008 and both of them lose their jobs and thus after a few months of struggle decide to go to the middle eastern country of Noman in search of a bright prospect. The travel agent arranges such that Shivaleeka has to go 5-6 days ahead of Vidyut. Alone in an unknown city, Shivaleeka gets kidnapped and sold off to the flesh trade. Will Vidyut Jammwal be able to go there and save his wife and bring her back home? Or will he himself uncover some hidden truth about his life in the foreign nation? Well, for that you’ll have to watch the film.
The film has been shot in the exotic locales of Uzbekistan. The locations are truly mind-blowing and you would have never seen them before. It shows that producers Abhishek Pathak and Kumar Mangat Pathak have put in that extra effort to make sure that writer-director Faruk Kabir’s vision comes out to be perfect.
The cinematography by Jitan Harmeet Singh is, without a doubt, the best part about the film. The locales come out perfectly, the action sequences have been captured with beauty, which overall gives this movie a very Hollywood feel.
Vidyut Jammwal solely carries this film on his shoulders. He looks good and this is one of the few rare occasions where he’s playing a commoner and not a superhero styled man doing just action stunts all day long. But is that enough? Full marks to him for trying out something different and out of his league.
Annu Kapoor is a charm to watch onscreen. It’s a shame that Bollywood doesn’t give this man enough opportunities to flaunt his talent onscreen. While there are many other actors in the film who’re using a different middle eastern accent while speaking Hindi, but it’s only Annu Kapoor who manages to nail it from the very first go. All the others sound totally fake. Adding to this, the way Annu Kapoor’s get-up is done makes sure he looks perfect as a taxi driver from Noman. His performance is flawless and spotless.
Lastly, the music by Mithoon has some great numbers to remember. Songs like Khuda Haafiz unplugged and Jaan Ban Gaye stand out from the gamut of others. The background score by Amar Mohile is hauntingly good. You’re brought into the feel of being put in the middle of a middle eastern country perfectly by it. The background score takes you straight into the feel of being in the midst of ‘Alif Laila’. Even though it’s nothing too great, but gives you great nostalgic feels.
The main problem of the movie is the plot of a women-rescue trope. Since time immemorial the fairer sex has been playing the damsel in distress card and strong well-built men have been scaling mountains and crossing rivers and oceans to go and rescue them. ‘Khuda Haafiz’ is exactly this. You’ve seen Liam Neeson do it a million times in the ‘Taken’ film series and you’re just not too impressed with this Vidyut Jammwal one’s plot borderline-ing on the same. I strictly blame writer-director Faruk Kabir for this as he had the money for making it big, just that his story and presentation didn’t have that novelty which could have made this film a great thriller with possible sequels to have come in the years to come.
Vidyut Jammwal has tried something new in this film by toning down his action and trying to play the normal boy-next-door Indian techie. So, as a Vidyut Jammwal critique, you’re happy that he’s tried something good, but as a fan, you’re disappointed that he’s not doing any high-flying martial arts-style action stunts. If the plot of the film would have been better then maybe this conscious choice of Vidyut trying to tone down his action would have worked well, but with the story going mundane you’re left with pretty much nothing to stop you from yawning.
To add to this the supporting cast, baring aside an Annu Kapoor, isn’t that great. Shiv Panditt, who’s given us fab performances before in films like ‘Shaitan’, ‘Mantra’, ‘Loev’, etc is just a mere caricaturish officer of the law. Aahana Kumra, who’s played stellar roles like ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, ‘Sona Spa’, ‘Yudh’ etc is now just an extended cameo. She enters the film pretty much half-way of the second half of the movie. It’s bad to see good actors not leave a mark. Actors like Vipin Sharma and Nawab Shah have a blink and a miss performance.
Lastly, the editing of the movie by Sandeep Francis could have been a bit crisper. In a thriller like this, you want to just dive into the heart of the Chase in the first 10-15 mins of the story, whereas that doesn’t happen here. You’re made to sit through an entire sequence in Lucknow where the couple meets for an arranged marriage, they fall in love and then there is a song amidst their wedding and finally we’re into the heart of the story. All that could have been done away with.
If you’re getting bored sitting at home this weekend, this isn’t a BAD WATCH. But if you’re already in the midst of some web series, don’t skip your episodes to take Time Out for ‘Khuda Haafiz’ as it’s not worth it. I am going with 1.5 stars.