Badlapur (2015) *HQ*

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Raghu (Varun Dhawan) is a happy content man who has a beautiful wife Mishti (Yami Gautam), his college sweetheart and a son Robin. This fairy tale life comes to an abrupt end when Mishti and Robin are killed in a bank robbery case. Left in a state of shock, Raghu never comes to terms with his life.

After one of the robbers, Laik (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is caught by the police, Raghu tries to avenge his family’s loss by forcefully sleeping with Laik’s prostitute girlfriend Jhumli (Huma Qureshi) but attains nothing. While Laik is given a 20 year jail sentence, Raghu still harbours an uncontrollable angst inside him which comes out 15 years later when Laik is bailed due to his medical conditions. This where the story starts and the twists keep you hooked into this revenge tale!

Director Sriram Raghavan strikes the hammer of genius with BADLAPUR for he buys your eyes and makes you stay glued to the screen right till the end. The biggest highlight of the film is the incredible tussle between two powerful actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Varun Dhawan unexpectedly conjoined by the quirky screenplay-labyrinth. The makers have aptly labeled this film as a ‘Twisted Entertainer’. Yes, the film is dark, gory and violent, but, at the same time, it’s also cerebrally stimulating and entertaining. The artistic values are top notch but it’s meant for a select audience that patronizes sensible, sensitive, meaningful cinema.

BADLAPUR, which is reportedly based on a true story, sees Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas write a wonderful screenplay. Sriram Raghavan navigates the film in a non linear format, thus, keeping you guessing at many a juncture. The viewer is foxed when the narrative floats between Raghu’s ‘lunch’ with Harman (Vinay Pathak), Koko (Radhika Apte) and Shobha (Divya Dutta).

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is indeed God’s gift to cinema. You hate him as if he’s a stench and then he changes colours and floors you with another peculiar shade. His character Laik is an extremely deceptive character with a distinct body language that makes him look weak, even though he is as wily 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 hilarious. He will also turn your eyes moist.

Varun Dhawan is a very ambitious actor and his manic energy does full justice to this ambition in BADLAPUR. His transformation from an impressionable teenager and a caring husband to an eerily quiet middle aged lonely-disgruntled-man is simply legendary, to say the least. He gives you an ample display of class as an actor. The fidgety memories, ready-to-roll-tears gradually becoming a parched tsunami of desolateness, the friendship with relentless rage and effortlessly getting infested by cold bloodedness. With this film, 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 competently. 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 laudatory on the part of the director. Pratima Kazmi as Nawaz’s mother is very good.

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