Sriram Raghavan has a winner! Badlapur is dark, mysterious and intriguing and helps you stay glued to the screen right till the very end. The biggest highlight of the film is the incredible tussle between two powerful actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Varun Dhawan unpredictably conjoined by the eccentric screenplay. The makers have aptly labelled this film as a ‘Twisted Entertainer’. Yes, the film is dark, gruesome and violent, but, at the same time, it’s also stimulating and entertaining. The artistic values are top notch but it’s meant for a select audience that supports practical, profound, meaningful cinema. Misha (Yaami Gautam) and her son Robin are killed by a bank robber Laik (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Misha’s jovial husband Raghu (Varun Dhawan) is distressed and devastated. He tries every possible means to get even with Laik, including forced sex with Laik’s prostitute girlfriend Jhimli (Huma Qureshi) to demean him. Laik is sentenced to twenty years prison term where he makes several failed jail-break-attempts. Fifteen years later, Raghu ‘facilitates’ Laik’s premature exit from the jail. The twists-in-the-plot continues, ensuring a roller coaster exhilarating ride.
Badlapur, which is reportedly based on a true story, sees Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas write a brilliant screenplay. Sriram Raghavan steers the film in an unusual format, thus, keeping you predicting at many occasions. The viewer is hoodwinked when the story floats between Raghu’s ‘lunch’ with Harman (Vinay Pathak), Koko (Radhika Apte) and Shobha (Divya Dutta). Nawazuddin Siddiqui is indeed one of Bollywood’s finest actors and an invaluable part of cinema. You hate him as if he’s a reek and then he changes colours and floors you with another weird shade. His character Laik is a tremendously illusive character with a distinct body language that makes him look weak, even though he is as crafty as a fox. He becomes a different person when he’s interacting with Raghu, Jhimli, policemen and his old mother. Some of his interactions with fellow jail inmate Murli Sharma are side-splitting. He will also turn your eyes moist.
Varun Dhawan is a very ambitious actor and his enthusiast energy does full justice to this ambition in BADLAPUR. His revolution from a vulnerable teenager and a caring husband to a creepily quiet middle aged lonely-resentful-man is simply legendary, to say the least. He gives you an sufficient display of class as an actor. The memories his character shares and his natural tears progressively becoming a thirsty tide of loneliness, the friendship with relentless rage and effortlessly getting infested by cold bloodedness. Varun emerges as one of the finest actors that we have today, across all age groups. Yaami Gautam and Huma Qureshi have small roles, which they portray adeptly. Radhika Apte and Vinay Pathak impress in their cameos. The scene where Varun asks Radhika to lose her inhibitions is devoid of undue salaciousness and that’s greatness on the part of the director.
Anil Mehta’s cinematography is vivid. Mostly, the film has been shot in dark or inside, but there’s always the right amount of lighting to give it the genuine touch. The only problem is that while the film grips the viewers in the solid first half, it gets untied up in the strained second half. Pooja Ladha Surti’s editing is good but had the film been al dente in the second half, it definitely would have driven up the film’s fast-paced thriller format. Music and background score by Sachin-Jigar provides solid framework with ‘Jee Karda’, ‘Jeena’ and ‘Judai’ being extraordinary tracks. Sriram Raghavan is back to his non-compromising style with Badlapur.
There’s a clear imprint of wicked humour, detached, no frills-attached take on human relationships and absolutely no compromise. It’s a sure winner and it will surely grab many awards in 2015. The Bollywood Tempest recommends unusual cinema to our readers and Badlapur gets our vote as one of 2015’s best pieces of cinema. Badlapur offers you cinematic excellence. You shall be treated to truly memorable performances by Nawazuddin and Varun Dhawan.
8/10 | 4 Stars