Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, Manav Kaul
Bollywood has begun the year on a thrilling note with the first big release Wazir promising a power-packed ride. With writers Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and flaunting actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Manav Kaul, expectations are high from the thriller revenge saga. Does it deliver?
The film narrates the story of a cop (Farhan), a disabled man (Amitabh) and the unusual circumstances that lead to a friendship between the two.
Wazir opens on a disengaging note - a slow, romantic song (Tere Bin) plays in the background as the love story of Danish (Farhan) and Ruhana (Aditi) comes to the fore. By the time the song ends, a tragic turn of events leaves the couple grieving and depressed. The movie then traces Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh), his entry in Danish’s life and their friendship.
But within moments of the slow song, a well-written script ensures you are on the edge of your seats. From a well shot and perfectly edited shoot-out to the build up to an innocent friendship, the director keeps us on the tenterhooks as the story unfolds.
Not that there aren’t roadblocks choking the journey Wazir wants to take you on.
Danish, the protagonist, is not your regular Bollywood hero. He is a police officer who you’d want to slap for his stupidity: The moment he turns his car around for the first chase of the movie, his naiveté is annoying and predictably dangerous.
Also, a brilliant actor like Manav Kaul is disappointingly underused. Kaul plays a conniving politician but there is little meat in his character to showcase his acting prowess.
And, the worst of it all comes at the end, in the dumbing down of all the scheming and devious plans, once the story is hurtling towards the end. Revealing the twists is great for the audience but why do most Hindi thrillers end up with one character telling the audience, “You know what? You saw A but it was actually B.” A smartly-edited rush of what actually happened behind the suspense should be convincing enough; there is no need for a character saying it all in as many words.
Watch the Wazir review
Wazir uses chess metaphors to talk about life, a move that could have been irritating were it not for the subtle way Bejoy inserts these into lighter conversations. For example when Danish says, “Galat chaal wapas nahi le sakta,” and Panditji retorts, “Yahi to farak hai shatranj aur zindagi mein, yaha dusra mauka milta hai,” a smiling Danish and some smart moves on the chess board ensure the scene is not bogged down by the heaviness of the dramatic dialogues.
Apart from the smart storyline, powerful performances are the backbone of Wazir.
While Farhan and Amitabh are the clear winners, the supporting actors too showcase their skills. Neil Nitin Mukesh is convincing as the character edging with psychopath bend. Manav Kaul and John Abraham, too, perfectly fit into their characters and bring the narration alive.
The film’s most interesting part lies in the fact that it is a revenge drama but the protagonists are not angry. They are cold-blooded in their devious planning and perfect implementation. In a remarkable deviation from the typical Bollywood style, Wazir’s characters do not delve into the sadistic pleasure of avenging a wrong but concentrate on the final target.
Watch: Wazir stars talk about the film
Despite the smaller flaws and the slightly botched up ending, the film is definitely worth a watch.
The writer tweets @swetakaushal.