Banners: Mangal Murti Films, Cinekorn Entertainment, T-Series films, Vertex Motion Pictures
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Milan Luthria
Director: Milan Luthria
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Sanjay Mishra, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Vidyut Jammwal, Denzil Smith, Sharad Kelkar, Priyanshu Chatterjee
Writer: Rajat Aroraa
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Ankit Tiwari, Kabir Café
It’s been a while since Bollywood saw a good heist film and Baadshaho boasts all the elements that are a prerequisite for a perfect heist film – action, drama, lots of twist and turns, witty one-liners, a stellar ensemble cast, and a suave director who is known for his mastery in weaving together all these elements to create an entertaining film. However, despite all these essentials, the film takes a dip towards the second half.
Set in a rustic milieu, against the backdrop of the 1975 Emergency, Baadshaho kick-starts with a Rajasthani princess Gitanjali (Ileana D’ Cruz) dismissing politician Sanjeev’s (Priyanshu Chatterjee) advances, which obviously hurts his ego. To take revenge, he seizes all her pushtaini khazana and throws her behind bars. Now Sanjeev wants these pots and pots of gold to be shipped to his house in Delhi and the unofficial operation is led by army official Rudra Pratap Singh, who brings on board another army captain Seher Singh (Vidyut Jammwal) to oversee the operation.
They are supposed to make sure that the booty safely reaches Sanjeev in a fancy truck, whose safety measures make it almost impossible for anyone to steal its contents. But an impossible robbery is the key to any heist film, thus creating edge-of-the-seat tension for the audience. In comes our choron ki tolli, who are appointed by Her Royal Highness to make the impossible possible.
Bhawani Singh (Ajay Devgn) is an old accomplice who is in love with the princess and is willing to do anything for her. He promises Gitanjali that he will bring all the gold back to her, where she can use it for the benefit of her people. Bhawani puts his team together – Daliya (Emraan Hashmi), a goofy womaniser, Guruji (Sanjay Mishra), a drunkard who can break open any lock, and Sanjana (Esha Gupta), because she is Gitanjali’s friend. The foursome come up with a fantastic plan to rob the truck laden with gold. But just before the heist, all four get arrested.
Director Milan Luthria manages to build ample tension till this point, keeping the audience engrossed with his fast-paced thriller and dialoguebaazi (superb job by the writer, Rajat Aroraa), which is his forte. He even introduces his ace card, an interesting twist at the interval point, making the audience look forward to the second half. But the film loses its tempo towards the second half. Nevertheless, the director manages to keep the entertainment quotient high with stylized action sequences and superb dialogue. Also, a better climax would have made all the difference and it is not as exciting as the chases are.
There are a few action scenes that are beautifully captured and one of them is the chase sequence between Vidyut Jammwal and Emraan Hashmi. The two songs, Mere rashke qamar and Piya more are another USP of the film. The scene where Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi are trying to get onto the truck is interestingly shot.
Background score of the film by John Stewart Eduri is excellent and adds tension and drama to this heist adventure. Cinematographer Sunita Radia perfectly captures the rustic milieu, giving us some really gorgeous montages of Rajasthan. Editing could have been crisper in the second half. Although the film is not at all lengthy, it seems to drag as there are very few locations especially in the second half.
Rajat Aroraa’s writing does have its flaws, especially in the second half of the film, but he does deliver some whistleworthy one-liners. Ajay’s line about ‘Chaar din ki zindagi…’ is sure to stay with audience for a long time.
Performance-wise, Ajay Devgn as Bahwani Singh was obviously the best choice. Devgn excels in each scene. Emraan Hashmi is a complete charmer as Daliya. Sanjay Mishra, as usual, is the show-stealer. Vidyut Jammwal has the swag and makes an impression. Ileana D’Cruz looks lovely as the princess and plays her part well. Esha Gupta is very good. Sharad Kelkar has a small role but does complete justice to his character and so does Priyanshu Chatterjee.
Verdict: Baadshaho has its flaws but is an engrossing, racy and stylized action thriller that draws compelling performances from its stars.