My first review of 2016 begins with my first ever disclaimer since I started writing reviews. Disclaimers in the movies, which started out being one line statements about no animals having been hurt in the making of the movie have now graduated to becoming multi paragraph essays and the longest one which I have seen in recent times being the one for BAJIRAO MASTANI. My disclaimer, by comparison, is a rather short one: I am a very big fan of the big B and I have a healthy regard for Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s story writing capabilities. Readers may please bear this in mind, lest I be accused of looking for the occasional needles in the proverbial haystack of talent of these two brilliant Bollywood personalities.
WAZIR directed by Benoy Nambiar is based on an “original” story (I haven’t figured out the reason for the usage of the word “original” in the story credits when they come on the screen!) written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and stars Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akthar in a tense thriller of a kind not often seen on the Indian screens. The movie is just 100 minutes long and Benoy skilfully narrates the story without lingering longingly on key twists, which could have robbed the movie of its tautness. Farhan Akthar plays his part excellently ( a similar role was played in a revenge drama by Varun Dhawan in BADLAPUR in January 2015) and Amitabh Bachchan delivers, like he does always.
Where, then are the proverbial needles? Three weak links stand out rather glaringly in the story. One is the character of Pandit Omkar played by Amitabh, who looks rather old to have a daughter of that age. I suspect that Vidhu wanted to have the big B essay that role and therefore glossed over this detail. Secondly, there is no real basis for his suspecting a malafide motive of the minister apart from just “seeing” it in his eyes. Thirdly, the type of security offered to the minister’s daughter seems rather weak in the context of the story being narrated. There are a few other glitches as well, but detailing those would not be possible without my letting out the story, which I try to judiciously avoid in my reviews.
I was wondering whether the late Sanjeev Kumar would have done better justice to the role played by the big B, and in the current crop of actors Nasseruddin Shah ( remember his A WEDNESDAY?) or any other character actor like Nana Patekar might have fitted well. But perhaps they lack the star status of the big B!
Independent of all that I have said above, WAZIR is an immensely watchable effort and for those who haven’t seen the director’s earlier creations DAVID and SHAITAAN, go ahead and watch them as well!
RATING: 4 out of 5
January 8th 2016