Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Amit Sadh, Vijay Verma, Kenny Basumatary Sanjay Mishra
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Yaara, the latest offering to the rather unconventional slate of projects under Zee5's belt (Chintu ka Birthday, Barot House, Posham Pa), is below average at best and fails to measure up in even presenting typical Bollywood masala entertainment, which it tries to lure us in with since the start of its two-hours-plus, tedious runtime.
The story cuts back and forth between late 70s and present, where four friends Phagun (Vidyut Jammwal), Mitwa (Amit Sadh), Rizwan (Vijay Verma) and Bahadur (Kenny Basumatary), who are thick as thieves at first sight, run their illegal businesses of bootlegging, smuggling and arms dealing successfully. They climb up the criminal ladder since their is no major opposition from anywhere really.
The Chowkdi Gang (gang of four), as their moniker goes, has to be feared, because the filmmaker is telling us so by showing firing of guns, money trail, muscle power and what not. There seems to be no solid backstory to the rise of these four small gangsters, who become mafias during the course of movie. In doing so, Yaara only verges on superficiality and that happens on many levels.
Side tracks include the Chowkdi Gang supplying arms to naxals for their revolution. Add to that a dash of student politics, a forced romance angle between Shruti Haasan and Vidyut, which becomes the center of the story somewhere in the second act but never really lifts the movie to any greater heights in terms of storytelling or treatment, underworld operating from Dubai and corrupt police investigation. What you get finally is an overcooked hotch-potch of bland individual ingredients.
With the lack of a tight script, director naturally falls on performances to lift up the entire package. However, everyone disappoints. Vidyut does well in silences but as soon as he is given dialogues to mutter, he falters, beyond hope. Same is the case with Shruti.
Amit, who has been appearing in various OTT-based shows and movies, tries to explore a different approach again, but the story and the lack of investment in his track makes us yawn during his exaggerated performance.
Vijay has been constantly letting down with his character roles post Gully Boy. Here, he is easily replaceable. Kenny is decent but the focus is more on the others, so he naturally gets sidelined.
Tigmanshu's movies's cinematography is good and captures heartland India in postcard frames showcasing suburban beauty. Apart from that, there's nothing engaging in Yaara beyond a certain point and the whole project seems like a futile exercise in retrospect.
The dialogues that are given to actors are even worse, with some double meaning lines and empty boasting about manhood and violence. This will make one cringe more as expectations begin to diminish with each passing scene.
All in all, Yaara, can be avoided. It certainly lowers the bar for movies on OTT platforms, which are believed to be a tad better than what's been running in mainstream Bollywood for years.