The movie goes beyond the plain logistics of the ugly world of espionage to try and put a human face to the people who lose everything and gain nothing in their line of work, says Jaideep Ghosh
The movie’s momentum is built up right from the first sequence, as a catchy version of ‘Damadam Mast Kalandar’ sets the pace which is sustained remarkably throughout the plot by director Nikhil Advani. The tempo has its ups and downs in terms of speed but doesn’t lose the momentum of intensity at any time.
Wali (Irrfan Khan), Rudra (Arjun Rampal), Zoya (Huma Qureshi) and their local outlaw-turned-agent Aslam (Aakash Dahiya) are ordered by the RAW boss in India, Ashwini Rao (Nasser), to bring back to India the most wanted terrorist, Iqbal (Rishi Kapoor).
Within that framework, Advani has been able to push through the human tragedy that espionage can be. Wali’s wife and son are used as a handle by the ISI to try and snatch Iqbal back, tearing the spy between country and family. Zoya’s marriage falls victim to her work while Rudra’s love is a death sentence for a Pakistani prostitute (played brilliantly by Shruti Haasan).
It’s a movie about how human tragedy can even work as a catalyst for people to go so far beyond the realms of realism in an effort to achieve something. Also, it shows how these people, operating in the shadows, are no one’s children (RAW frantically tries to disown them when the plan threatens to fall through).
Rampal is sculpted to near-perfection, but Advani decided not to load him with excess histrionics, which worked fine. Huma is good and Irrfan, who has set a high benchmark, does sometimes threaten to look like the same guy we saw in other movies. Rishi Kapoor is at his cynical best while Haasan and Shriswara, as Wali’s wife Nafisa, have really done extremely well.
The music, if you have the patience to appreciate a good score, will keep you spellbound, especially if you can appreciate the mix of music and picturisation.
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