When in comes to a Vidhu Vinod Chopra production, one knows that they are in for a treat. So when it was announced that he would be bringing together the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Aditi Rao Hydari and John Abraham on one screen, there was much excitement as to what the acclaimed producer would conjure up. From its first look, Bejoy Nambiar�۪s directorial ��Wazir�۪ (2016) promised to be a full-fledged action packed drama, which would include a whole lot of mystery that would have audiences clutching to the edge of their seats. However, there�۪s always the risk, of having so many big names in one film but not delivering in the way that audiences hope. Has Chopra managed to create a brilliant film which enables each character to stand out, or has he put together something that will quite easily fall flat on its face?
When officer Danish Ali (Akhtar) gets involved in a shootout with a gang of terrorists, his life is turned completely upside down. With his daughter having been shot and his wife Ruhana (Hydari) living back at her mother’s house and full of grief, he comes across Pandit Omkharnath Dharr (Bachchan), a wheelchairbound chess player who teaches kids (including Danish�۪s little girl) the game of Bishops, Knights, Kings and Queens. After a friendship has developed between the two over their games of chess, Danish learns Panditji�۪s own anguish of his own daughter having been murdered. However, with all evidence pointing towards it being an accident, Danish becomes involved in Panditji�۪s fight for revenge which in turn brings up a mysterious evil character who always seems to be one step ahead. Nobody knows who he is, what he is and where he is, all that is known is he is dangerous, crude and extremely vicious. Will Danish and Panditji manage to play this game of real life chess right, or will they be the ones on the other side of a checkmate?
Director Nambiar has definitely out-done himself. Brilliantly using the game of chess as a metaphor throughout the film in a simple yet effective way, he gives the audiences even more to think about. The film is full of twists and turns, and though there may be many predictions running through one�۪s mind, Nambiar�۪s storytelling has audiences stuck in a frenzy of second guessing themselves at every stage. Though the film is a multi-starrer, the director has attempted to make each character shine in its own light. With some being more easy to forget than others however, there are parts of the film that didn�۪t really need to be there, or could have been portrayed by a much less well-known personality.
As far as performances go, each actor has done extreme justice to their respective roles. Akhtar, who is an acclaimed actor, proves once again that he has exactly what it takes to exceed expectations. The actor expresses the role of Danish Ali perfectly, revealing heartache, compassion, anger and sorrow at precisely the right moments. He makes his audiences feel his emotions purely and intensely. Akhtar�۪s on-screen chemistry with Bachchan is also a huge plus for this film. Sharing the screen together for the first time, both actors engross into their characters so effortlessly, creating a believable and warm relationship within the film. Despite knowing that there isn�۪t anything Bachchan can�۪t do, his performance still brings out a great element of surprise. Playing his character in a way that adds a sense of evasiveness and obscurity as to whom his character really is, Bachchan manages to capture his audiences attention from the word go. Through this film, the actor uses his chameleon-like ability to adapt his character’s personality in each scenario, and one can�۪t seem to take their eyes off him and watch his every move in order to catch him out.
Hydari�۪s presence as Akhtar�۪s wife Ruhana, brings a nice element to the film, and it seems she has been used to add the humble side of overall story. Her on-screen chemistry with Akhtar is wonderful to watch, reminding audiences of the more softer emotions that the characters feel. Playing the ultimate villain is Neil Nitin Mukesh, who is definitely an underrated actor. For those who think otherwise, they will be proved wrong through his short but extremely effective act in this one. Playing a character that can only be described as vile, unforgiving and absolutely wicked, it can be suggested that Mukesh�۪s whole presence in the film is almost ironic. Playing the character called Wazir but having the least amount of scenes, Mukesh is definitely the one who stands out from all the others. Despite his quick entry and exit, audiences remember him for the longest time, which only make them want to see more of him. Abraham on the other hand bagged a role that didn�۪t seem to add much to the plot in the first place. Though he plays his character as a Superintendent of Police as honestly as he can, it lacks substance and need. For the reason that the rest of the characters hold such powerful positions within the story, Abraham becomes overshadowed and is in fact almost forgotten about throughout the film.
The songs in this film composed by Shantanu Moitra, are beautifully sung, and pleasantly portrayed. With the first song ��Tere Bin�۪ melodiously sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal, it is shot as a means of showing the love story between Akhtar and Hydari at the start of the film. The song is also played in the background during many of the scenes throughout the film. With the vocals of Ankit Tiwari, Bachchan and Akthar, each song helps the film along, and makes the audiences engage with relationships between Hydari, Akhtar and Bachchan.
Nambiar manages to tell a gripping and thought-provoking film, where audiences find their eyes glued to the screen from the first scene. However, there are elements that are rather questionable, especially when it comes to the end. With so many unpredictable twist and turns throughout the movie, the finish of the film is almost too simple. Audiences will be expecting a big bang, but instead the story trails off into something that makes you want to roll your eyes. However, this can also be seen as a great point, which adds to the element of wanting to see more of Mukesh. Leaving the audiences to expect the unexpected can be rather impressive. The film as a whole is definitely one to watch, and Chopra has once again proven that he knows how to make his audiences tick. Though one may come away from the theatre still collecting their thoughts, there�۪s no doubt in saying that it�۪s certainly a great entertainer. Nambiar and Chopra make a great filmmaking pairing, and both show their immense advocacy in making excellent cinema.
BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 4/5