NAAM SHABANA Movie Review: First half world class, second half third class

 

1.5/5

 

It’s a burning example of how careless lazy bum screenwriting and direction can screw up a fairly interesting idea that could have been turned into a nail-biting world-class thriller. Why do our film writers & directors who have everything going for them do this all the time? A little more due diligence and application of mind could have produced a entertaining, and great espionage thriller cum actioner comparable with the best of the world at a fraction of the cost of what Hollywood produces.

 

Is that asking for too much? How can the progenies of the greatest storytellers of the universe act so dumb? They need to be shamed and hauled on burning coal and dipped in boiling ‘सरसों का तेल’ (Mustard Oil) for the way they shamelessly waste precious resources, time and talent without much care or concern. It’s so disgusting. Fie on them.

 

Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu) is a young Muslim girl who lives with her mother in a Muslim locality. She is doing a course in commerce and is also a mixed martial arts champion. One of her class fellows is in love with her. She treats him like a friend and though she likes him, is reluctant to go whole hog. She has a terrible past. When she was a teenager she had accidentally killed her own drunkard of a father who in an inebriated state was beating and almost choking her mother to death. She served a sentence in juvenile home. She tells her background story to the boy who loves her, when they go out on a date on his birthday. She expects it will dissuade him from going any further in the relationship. The boy does not care. She finally admits she loves him. On the way back home they have an encounter with a bunch of goons. The boy gets killed, dealing a devastating blow to her.

 

Without her knowledge the Special Intelligence Cell of the Government of India has been keeping a watch over her since the time she was serving her sentence at the juvenile home. Its head Ranvir Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) approaches her. He wants to recruit her for the cell and strikes a deal with her. He will help her kill the goon who killed her boyfriend but she will have to join the cell & work for the country. She takes the deal. Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar), the ace operative of the cell, helps her in killing the goon. Next she is assigned the task to eliminate a wily illegal arms dealer every intelligence agency of the world is after. He has killed many operatives of the cell in the past. He is located in Malaysia and is in the process of going for a plastic surgery. Shabana will get all the help from Ajay and his associate Om Prakash Shukla (Anupam Kher) in this assignment. Will she succeed in her assignment? What do you think?

 

The first half of the film is totally engrossing. Everything goes wrong in the second half with the dominant presence of Akshay Kumar. The narrative goes for a toss. We don’t know why the ace operative could not perform the task all by himself and why Shabana had to be assigned to it. The finale is ridiculous. And the way Akshay Kumar drags Taapsee Pannu by her arm in their scenes is downright awkward and unwholesome.

 

The predictable and idiotic screenplay repeats the same boring and senseless martial arts fight routines one after another without adding much suspense, thrill and chill to the story. It’s not a smart cat and mouse chase kind of a cliffhanger thriller either. If the purpose was to make a female-centric espionage thriller and actioner, it’s put paid to with the entry of Akshay. It’s like a male boss who would not like his female subordinate to hog the limelight alone and thus must play the ultimate savior.

 

It’s a technically well-made film.  

 

1.5/5

 

Directed by Shivam Nair, Produced by Neeraj Pandey, Shital Bhatia, Written by Neeraj Pandey, Starring: Taapsee Pannu, Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Music by Rochak Kohli, Meet Bros, Cinematography by Sudheer Palsane, Edited by Deepak Seju, Production companies: Plan C Studios, Cape Of Good

Rajesh Kumar Singh

@khulkebolo @neelnabh

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