Review: Barah Aana | india | Hindustan Times
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Review: Barah Aana

Naseeruddin Shah strikes again this week. As a taciturn driver who has crude barbs and arrows thrown at him by an abrasive memsaab — till he has his revenge. Not quite Aravind Adiga’s Booker winner The White Tiger, but you get the drift, writes Shashi Baliga.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 17:40 IST
Shashi Baliga

Barah Aana
Cast: Vijay Raaz, Naseeruddin Shah, Arjun Mathur
Direction: Raja Menon
Rating: ***

Naseeruddin Shah strikes again this week. As a taciturn driver who has crude barbs and arrows thrown at him by an abrasive memsaab — till he has his revenge. Not quite Aravind Adiga’s Booker winner The White Tiger, but you get the drift.

Shukla the driver is abetted by a desperate watchman (Vijay Raaz) who no one is ready to loan Rs 6,000 for his sick child’s hospital bills. Their chief accomplice Aman (Arjun Mathur), a waiter at a café, is luckier; his problem is that he wants to marry the pretty firang customer Kate (Violante Placido), who he is convinced has the hots for him.

Together, the trio forms a team that gets adept at waylaying people and extracting money out of them or their families. As their greed takes them from white to shades of grey and finally black, so do their fortunes change.

Vijay Raaz is terrific; surely at his best after Monsoon Wedding. Though his silence for a large part of the movie is gimmicky, Naseer is expectedly good as Shukla the driver, who has been legally declared dead thanks to some machinations by his family.

Arjun Mathur does decently as the ambitious young waiter and Tannishtha Chatterjee is quite the firebrand in her colourful outfits and petticoats. Violante Placido is the weakest link, but luckily, does not do too much harm.

Overall, this is an entertaining effort, with some sure direction, tellingly real characters, and largely efficient acting. A thank you to director Raja Menon is in order for inserting no gratuitous item numbers. What a relief — and it does help keep the film a taut and focused 97 minutes.

E-mail author shashi.baliga@hindustantimes.com