Starring Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Radhika Apte, Rohit Saraf
Directed by Pushkar-Gayathri
Whether you have seen the original Vikram Vedha in Tamil or not, the Hindi avatar of the tense taut tactile slowburner is a killer of a film. There are unexpected twists and turns right to the end. And I do mean till the very end. Writers-directors Pushkar-Gayathri milk the cop-gangster thriller’s conflict to the last drop of sweat and blood, imbuing the action with an exceptional sense of urgency.
The first twenty minutes of this lengthy cat-and-mouse chase drama is devoted to meticulously setting up the conflict. The pieces go up one by one to enforce the edifice. We see Saif Ali Khan as an encounter cop and his team which is introduced to us with care and attention. Why so much attention, we only get to know later, much later.
Never short of surprises, never short of breath even at the breakneck speed at which the narrative moves, there is a sense of stealthy progression in the characterizations as the plot takes the characters from one life-changing conflict to another.
Except for one female newcomer, the supporting cast is bang-on. Satyadeep Mishra as Saif’s cop partner Abbas leaves a lasting impression, not only because of the actor but for the way his role is written. These characters have a shelf life beyond the immediate.
The storytelling moves back and forth from one level of crime and punishment to another , bring with each episode a new layer of relevance to the drama. The editing mode ensures that time is validated as a cruel master of destiny. Lucknow has been shot by cinematographer P S Vinod like never before. The variety of food and internecine feud are fuelled by an arresting diversity of rugged scenes .
There is a constant flow of unforeseeable energy in the plot which per se, is nothing new. It is the whimsical manner in which the familiar situations involving the hero and the anti-hero come together that makes the clash a feast of fury.
Both the lead actors are in their element. While Hrithik unleashes an unbridled brio and tends to go over-the-top(especially in that totally uncalled-for song Alcoholia) Saif is more controlled and prone to brooding silences that this boisterous noisy film badly needs.
As for who is better between the two, their combined avidity is what gives Vikram Vedha its raw heartstopping energy.