Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Ileana D’Cruz and Esha Gupta’s film Badshaaho hits theaters today. It follows a group of Rajasthani thugs who decide to loot the gold confiscated from Rani Geetanjali during the Emergency, and transport it back to Delhi by road.
Baadshaho is set in the emergency era of 1975, and kicks off with a screen filled with Ileana D’Cruz displaying her acting chops. Ileana plays the role of Rani Geetanjali, and it is currently painful to watch her act, or at least try.
Many things happen in the first 15 minutes of the movie. A 2 year leap, the bombing of an entire palace in Jaipur and the arrest of Rani Geetanjali. The Rani has been taken into police custody for not declaring her gold and giving it to the government.
While she’s waiting in a dark cell, she rues how only one person is needed to save her. Finally, there is some respite for the viewers as Ajay Devgn is introduced in all his glory. Apparently gas bombs don’t work on this man? While sitting in her dilapidated cell, Ileana flashes back to her meeting with Ajay Devgn (who plays the hardened character of Bhavani). Bhavani and Geetanjali’s love unfurls as we are given some background into their relationship.
Ajay has been put in charge of Rani Geetanjali’s security; and he pledges to always keep her safe. Ajay has his rustic accent down pat, and introduces a subtle comic relief in the film. Ileana finally becomes bearable as she vibes off Ajay, and the chemistry between the two is real.
Emraan Hashmi is introduced onto the silver screen in a manner that is befitting, keeping all his previous roles in mind. Diving straight into a brother, Hashmi’s kohl lined eyes instantly place him into the rural narrative perfectly.
Enter Sunny Leone in her special appearance as a brothel dancer and we are given a light hearted, yet subtly sensual sequence between the two.
Next we are introduced Vidyut Jammwal and his bare chest. Because if you have a good body, no matter what the narrative, the makers will find a way to display it. So Jammwal is seen smoking in a train, with barely any clothes on, and your guess is as good as mine as to why that happens.
Jammwal is an army officer who has been entrusted with stealing the gold that was recovered from Geetanjali’s palace and safely transport it to Delhi. Ajay on the other hand, has been given the task of making sure that gold never reaches Delhi. Somewhere amidst all this, Esha Gupta’s character is introduced in the movie as Rani Geetanjali’s friend.
Special mention to Haashmi for picking up the baton for comic relief in Baadshaho, delivering the lines that have been given to him with precision and impeccable comic timing. Surprisingly it is Haashmi’s character that has more appeal to me as a viewer than even Ajay’s, displaying different facets and multiple layers to a role that could have otherwise been portrayed in a straight manner.
Sanjay Mishra also makes for a good addition, rounding off the lead cast of this mixed ensemble and lending to the believability and authenticity of Baadshaho.
A beautiful, semi classical melody in the form of the song ‘Hoshiyar Rehna‘ deserves a special mention here, taking the storytelling to a different level and giving the narrative it’s first memorable song.
The interval leaves the movie at a massive cliffhanger which works well, leaving the audience with bated breath. Upon return, we are presented with an onslaught of information and the much awaited betrayal and treachery that one would come to expect from a movie about a heist is finally introduced.
With twists and turns galore in the second half of the film, Baadshaho ends on a positive and pleasant note (a smart strategy that makes one forget some of the more terrible parts of Milan Luthria’s film).
One of the better things about this movie is the crisp second half. Without stretching the film too much (something that all of Bollywood is very fond of doing), Baadshaho ends at the right moment with a refreshing and, more over, believable conclusion (yes it’s a happy ending, but it’s not the clichéd romance).
Overall, if slightly senseless action thrillers are your thing, then Baadshaho seems like something you can watch without cringing too much.
Side note : Ileana D’Cruz, we might need to talk about some acting classes.