Directed By: Shivam Nair
Produced By: Neeraj Pandey, Sheetal Bhatia
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3/5
The laborious part of making a thriller is to fictionalise suspense in the most real manner. ‘Baby’ (2015), that way, was a super success. You usually expect the story to carry itself forward with sequels. Neeraj Pandey, instead, decided to come up with a prequel. We were all the more waiting to experience the building of Shabana Khan. According to our ‘Naam Shabana’ movie review, Taapsee Pannu is not going to disappoint you.
Shabana (Taapsee Pannu) is a hapless child. She has a childhood and a youth disturbed in many ways. And after days of misery when she finally finds love in college mate Jay (Taher Shabbir Mithaiwala), fate plays another cruel strike. Jay dies an early, unfateful death that leaves Shabana devastated, clueless. As she is lunatically looking for a revenge to Jay’s untimely death, she gets calls from a mysterious agency, offering her help. In lieu of the help, she gets to be part of risky, sometimes life-threatening operations. What are all those operations after all? Which agency are they talking about? Will Taapsee succeed in vanquishing her love’s murderers? What does the future have in store for her? The answer lies in two hours and thirty minutes.
From the minute ‘Naam Shabana’ began, my eyes were glued to Taapsee. She is pretty, simple, undemanding. She puts up the face of a tough woman; but she is so real that you sense the agony she has suppressed inside. Even through her less-spoken emotions, she is fierce and she remains so. As the story develops, her character turns faster, sharper, more quick-witted. Every time I see a woman punching, kicking and knocking down notorious men, it is such a sigh of relief. Characterisations are changing after all.
The next pleasant watch is Prithviraj Sukumaran. A man of less words and more actions, he has essayed his grey character well. Akshay Kumar’s fans, however, shouldn’t expect their heartthrob khiladi to rule the screen. What Akshay has, is sort of an extended cameo. Nevertheless, he is decent. We loved Anupam Kher in his brief role. You must be expecting a mention of Manoj Bajpayee. All he does in the film is to talk. Yet, he is probably the most important catalyst here.
Don’t blame yourself if you feel the story is stretching itself a bit. The first half is mostly about Taapsee’s emotional turmoils, which forms a necessary portion of the story. It, however, could be more brief and more impactful in terms of emotional quotient as well. It takes you to go through a lot before you pick the weapon and kill someone who snatched your love away from you. Taapsee surely does it well but the journey in between could be more convincing. How an agency dealing with criminals worldwide relies on a college goer just looking at her spirit and courage, seems a bit unrealistic at times. But thankfully, ‘Naam Shabana’ has saved itself from a cliched climax. There’s a moment when you almost doubt if triumph will at all come. The entire film is packed with right dose of actions, many of which were effortlessly performed by Taapsee.
Shivam Nair’s previous directorial films almost sank. This one will hopefully prove he can tell a story pretty convincingly. We liked the timely placement of songs. Meet Bros and Rochak Kohli did a decent job together. But it looked like things went a little wrong at Deepak Seju’s editing table. Small continuity breaks here and there could have been avoided.
Verdict? Sure, as a nice one-time watch.
P.S. Did I tell you there’s Elli Avram too?