Baazaar movie review: Saif Ali Khan stands tall, but this film’s stock tanks
Director - Gauravv K Chawla
Cast - Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte, Rohan Mehra
Rating - 1.5/5
We might as well blame it on Martin Scorsese. Baazaar, directed by Gauravv K Chawla, is the kind of insipid film that will require someone to take responsibility, and we should point fingers to the master who made The Wolf Of Wall Street. It’s not that this film copies that alarmingly dynamic one, but rather that this director is so obviously seduced by visions of great films about the stock market, that he rushes — eagerly and without preparation — onto the filmmaking floor to try and join the legends.
“Greed is good.” What the classic line from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street doesn’t spell out is how compelling a storyteller needs to be to make greed look good.
Watch the Baazaar trailer here
This avarice is personified in the film by Saif Ali Khan. As a ruthless Gujarati manipulator, Khan is impressively authoritative. It is admittedly hard to believe him as a self-made man who studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Surat and knows no English, but Khan maintains a fine gruffness. He always seems to know what he’s talking about, even when likening himself to Batman — the superhero whose superpower is money. Alas, he isn’t the lead.
Rohan Mehra, son of memorable actor Vinod Mehra, is a young man appallingly free of charisma. The debutant goes through the predictable motions of a shark-to-be, and does so without any discernible talent. In a scene where he vomits, for example, he doesn’t look like he needs to throw up; he looks like he’s suddenly reminded the script needs him to throw up. Baazaar looks slick enough to have been a passable B-movie, if not for this lacklustre lead. Mehra made me long for the affably amoral Emraan Hashmi.
Mehra plays a young boy from Allahabad who flies up the rungs of the stockbroking world, in that annoying way characters do when writers are lazy: the problem is not in the wonder-kid knowing everything, but in the way nobody around him seems to know anything. One such easily impressed co-worker is Radhika Apte, utterly wasted in this film. Apte is lovely in montages and sequences set to music — entering a room with style, throwing her head back and laughing, casting a side-eyed glance — but it hurts whenever she speaks, because the dialogue she’s given is pure cardboard. Like so: “I want people to stand on terraces to dream, not to commit suicide.”
The ravishing Chitrangada Singh plays Saif’s wife, and shows little ability or desire to emote. Whether placating her distraught daughters or staring down her husband, Singh’s expression stays exactly the same even as she tries to convey her emotions by varying her pout.
The market manipulation and stock skulduggery in Baazaar is childish, but that doesn’t stop Chawla borrowing from masterworks like The Big Short. There is a reason the guy breaking the fourth wall in that film was the incomparably dashing Ryan Gosling. With Mehra, the flatness hurts. Chhokra dull chhe. There are many problems with the mediocre Baazaar, but the primary issue is intent. It appears Chawla didn’t truly attempt to tell a story. He’s a director who tried Wolf.
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