Director: Milan Luthria
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Sanjay Mishra, Ileana D'Cruz, Esha Gupta
An item song (featuring a Sunny Leone) – check. Unnecessary bravery and action sequences – check. Cheesy one-liners – check. Twists and turns at every mile – check. Life-long romance, lust and friendships – check.
Baadshaho is a typical ‘masala’ film which incorporates all the elements of a commercial potboiler. The film might have worked if it was helmed decades ago. Might.
The film falls flat on three aspects – one that it promoted itself on the accounts of Emergency of 1975, second that it’s the six ‘badasses’ who unite and third that it’s an action-thriller. The emergency is only used as a backdrop with a few fleeting mentions here and there, the characters, except for two maybe, are not bad in nature per se and there’s only superfluous action but not many thrills.
It’s 1975, the announcement of Emergency is played, while the Royals and influentials are busy trying to take personal revenge. An influential man named Sanjeev, who shares an uncanny resemblance to Sanjay Gandhi, has plotted for the arrest of a young Rajput princess Gitanjali Devi (Ileana D’Cruz), as she still holds her gold without an official declaration. Not one to give up easily, she decides to put up a fight and awaits the return of “one man” who she thinks will help her in the mission.
Enter Bhawani (Ajay Devgn), who was earlier deployed as her personal security force and had then pledged his life and services to the princess. Soon, the love angle in their story unfolds as the film moves back and forth in its narrative. With a no nonsense attitude, he decides to build a team who could loot back the gold from the hands of government and its abled officer Seher Singh (Vidyut Jamwal). An alcoholic but experienced lock picker Tikla (Sanjay Mishra), an affable and cheesy Daliya (Emraan Hashmi) and Gitanjali’s close friend Sanjana (Esha Gupta) make the cut and set on for the mission alongside Bhawani.
What follows is a trajectory riding on a faulty screenplay and devoid of any high moments as such. The glam quotient in the action thriller takes away the attention from the bare minimum scenes of action and thrills. In fact, there comes a point when you find yourself wondering if Ileana’s chiffon sari or Esha’s lip shade ever gets crushed or smudged.
Ajay as Bhawani is purely okay - he does what he’s expected to, maintaining a constant expression throughout – and that can be blamed upon his character limitations. Vidyut’s first scene is a shirtless one because of course, objectification. The two leading ladies – Ileana and Esha – come across as superficial and unconvincing. While Ileana’s character still has some meat, Esha is there just for the sake of it. But it’s Sanjay and Emraan, whose characters light up the screen. They deliver their lines with a certain ease and continue being a comic relief of sorts all throughout. In fact, you even ignore the cheesiness of the dialogues when it’s mouthed by them. A few scenes where the two of them are exchanging words with each other make up the most entertaining part of the film.
As uneven as the screenplay is, Rajat Arora should still be credited for etching out interesting character introductions for each. Like “wo aayega toh na topi bachegi na badge” for Bhawani, “ye aadmi nahi apni maut hai” for Seher and “purana chaawal hai pata nahi kis haandi mein nikle” for Daliya.
Of the many scenes, the one wherein Bhawani and Tikla are being enquired by a local inspector in a shady room and the final sequence towards the end, are the only two you’d actually be pleased to watch.
There’s absolutely no dearth of glossiness in the Milan Luthria directorial but then, there’s nothing else noteworthy in the film.