The axe forgets but the tree remembers – African proverb
Badlapur is a story about revenge. Directed by Agent Vinod’s director Sriram Raghavan, and starring Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam and Divya Dutta, this thriller drama narrates the story of Raghu (Dhawan), and how his life falls into pieces when his wife and son are killed in a bank robbery. One of the robbers, Liak (Siddiqui), is caught by the police and sent to jail, but his partner escapes with the money. Filled with anger and distress, Raghu devotes his life to take revenge on those who destroyed his world and will wait 15 years to fulfil his revenge, his “badla”.
Raghavan put together a very dynamic story. From the opening scene until the end, the story is well-paced, with just enough time to assimilate what is happening before moving onto the next plot twist. All characters, from Raghu and Liak to the smaller one, are well defined, which makes it easier for the audience to connect with them, either to understand or to question their behavior.
Varun ably takes on a character that is totally different to what he has offered until now. The only concern that the spectator may have is that Raghu is older than the actor in most of the film, and that age different might affect the credibility of his performance. Although the characterization could have been better to depict the time gap, the actor resorts to body language to show the passing of time and how the anger and the thirst for revenge has taken its toll on Raghu, which is nothing like the happy family man we meet at the beginning of the film.
At the beginning of the film, Raghu is a devastated widower, but driven by rage he takes a dangerous path that will lead him to commit acts as atrocious as the ones he is seeking revenge for. Although his performance is a bit stiff at times, overall the actor succeeds to express the complexity of the character.
Along with Dhawan, the other performance that deserves a special mention is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The actor steals the show every time he appears on-screen. Liak is the responsible for killing Raghu’s family, he is the villain, but yet the actor manages to build a complex character, even likable, full of light and shadow. The scenes shared by Raghu and Liak are intense and some of the best scenes in the film. Who is the hero and who is the villain?
Although the chase between Raghu and Liak dominates the film, the rest of the cast offer very good performances that add depth and complexity to the story.
Badlapur is a must-watch film, one of the first films in 2015 that managed to live up to expectations. Good performances in an intense story directed by an accomplished director.