Movie Review: ‘Khuda Haafiz’ (Hotstar)

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With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world hard, streaming platforms are rushing to release Bollywood’s biggest premieres. The latest release from Hotstar’s Premiere Nights is ‘Khuda Haafiz’, starring Vidyut Jammwal, Annu Kapoor, and Shivaleeka Oberoi. Set in 2008, the action thriller revolves around the gruesome reality of sex trafficking and the quest of a husband rescuing his wife from the midst of it. 

‘Khuda Haafiz’ introduces you to software engineer Sameer Choudhary (Jammwal) whose parents are introducing him to a possible life companion in Nargis (Oberoi). They hit it off and are soon married but what follows is the 2008 recession. Sameer’s once successful business starts losing clients and Nargis also loses her job at a call center. They both are at a loss and finally discover job opportunities halfway across the world in Noman (a fictional country). The agent that has secured this job placement says that Nargis will have to travel first as her documents came in earlier. Nargis leaves for Noman and discovers that all is not what it seems and makes a frightened phone call to Sameer. He rushes off to the placement agent with the Indian police in tow where he is informed that his wife never met anyone at the Noman airport. The police officers say that nothing can be done in India and Sameer should go to Noman to look for his wife and thus starts his journey.

One might think that ‘Khuda Haafiz’ stars a martial artist and will only be about the high octane action scenes. While they are exciting and realistically shot, Jammwal is brilliant from start to finish. His longing eyes, dialogues, and body language (down to the shivering fingers in multiple scenes) is exemplary. While it is only her second film, Oberoi is delicate, lively and has an undeniable chemistry with Jammwal. Now, if there is someone that stands apart from the rest it’s Annu Kapoor. Kapoor plays Sameer’s savior Usman, a taxi driver who helps him travel throughout Noman, navigating through the horrid world of pimps and prostitutes. In this role, Kapoor is empathetic, jovial, and the brother everyone needs. Supporting cast members Aahana Kumra and Shiv Panditt also make a strong and lasting impression in their roles as Noman’s International Security Agency officers.

It is a smooth sailing ship for director and writer Faruk Kabir. He pieces the story together beautifully and respectfully, including the inter-religion marriage of Sameer and Nargis. A soothing soundtrack and background score fit in to the narrative. The stunts are also not over the top and work in sync with Jammwal’s character.

‘Khuda Haafiz’ is a simple, heartfelt, and well told story. As you eat popcorn and order in, hold your family a little tighter and give this Hotstar release a watch. It is worth it.

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