Deceit, intrigue, conspiracy, guns smoke, dirt and constant one upmanship, all ingredients of Milan Lutheria’s world is in full blast here and again all this appears in style and with the same taut narrative.
Taking us back to the 1970s and the emergency in particular the film maker is not just caught up in the said time warp but also associates the film with a style that is perhaps just as dated.
A Sanjay Gandhi look alike makes moves that are shunned by Gitanjali Devi (Illeana). The Prince does not take this lightly and decides to avenge the refusal. He gets a senior Army official (Denzil Smith – a dignified performance) to ensure that the palace of the Princesses is searched.
She is arrested in the wake of the emergency and at a time when the makers and the law were one and the same, her wealth is sought to be taken away. In jail, she masterminds a heist of her own wealth even as the Army officer gets the assistance of Seher Singh (Vidyut Jamwal) to ensure the entire wealth is smuggled from Rajasthan to Delhi without public knowledge.
Gitanjali recruits her old reliable Man Friday Bhawani (Ajay Devgn) who in turn gets in his team the local rogue Daliya (Emran Hashmi) the gun trotting lady Sanjana (Esha Gupta) and the lock breaker maverick Tikla (Sanjay Misra- flawless as usual). Two conspiratorial plans unfurl.
Is it just that the two parallel intrigues cross lines and get caught in the crossfire? That would be too simple in the Lutheria world. So, there is more to it and that keeps you on the edge of the seat – not so much out of curiosity as out of interest on the depravity of the human kind.
The battle lines are drawn and the heist gets operational. The narrative also moves to and fro and permitting Gitanjali to be in the centre of the entire activity. It is denominated with the political happening of the times. You wait for over two hours and predictable amid dramatic twists and turns to see who wins and who does not.
It is about how they win and not who in our cinema. On the way, we are exposed to further deceit by the principal characters and the reasons justifying most of it.
This Lutheria outing would do itself a world of good if it had cut off at least 20 minutes of its 136 minutes. For instance, the chase scene through crowded streets is no predictable that a line stating that it may be taken as delivered may well be placed on screen. Then there is this long drawn torture scenes which reveal how stuck the narrative is with templates. You just don’t yawn, you look for askance. This softens the narrative punch and robs the film of its credibility.
Ajay Devgn is given the role he can perform in his sleep. Emran Hashmi is live wire. Illeana is stiff justifying royalty. For all the interesting twists and turns and some amazing cinematography it is the length and the predictability of the script that is its undoing. The Baadshaho end up looking normal. Better script could have justified the title.