Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 8th January, 2016
Time : 103 minutes
Director: Bejoy Nambiar; Writer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abhijat Joshi; Music : Various
Starring : Farhan Akhtar, Amitabh Bachchan, Manav Kaul, Aditi Rao Hydari, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anjum Sharma
You can see the end of the film coming a mile off (some critical flaws too) and I also disagree with some of the editing choices – they didn’t need to reveal some things midway – but, thanks to a really great performance by Farhan Akhtar and a slightly over the top but engaging one by Amitabh Bachchan, it makes for a good, gripping enough viewing.
Farhan, an anti-terrorist squad officer, has just lost his daughter while chasing some baddies. His wife, Aditi, in a state of semi-shock has distanced herself from him. He’s suspended from work and probably at the lowest ebb of his life. Enter Amitabh Bachchan. Wheelchair bound, no legs, no wife (lost in a driving accident) and no daughter. She died couple of years ago in an accident, falling down the stairs at politician / Minister Manav Kaul’s place. Grief unites the two men, particularly Amitabh’s way of dealing with it, by teaching youngsters dance. And chess. Farhan is roped in as well… and then secrets come tumbling out…
There is no denying serious flaws in the story. And also some errors while narrating. But it’s the serious, underplayed, strong, upright performance by Farhan which keeps you hooked. Amitabh, to provide the contrast, is deliberately loud, exaggerated – but has particularly pithy, moving lines when required – especially when trying to bring about a rapprochement between the estranged couple. Manav Kaul didn’t particularly impress while Neil, John and Aditi in their brief roles did. A good soundtrack helps too.
There is a little bit to ponder on how quickly we, the media fall into the trap of making people heroes. Almost as if the need to put someone on a pedestal is ingrained in us, our culture. Also, strangely, for a film named after a chess piece, there is very little about the intricacies of the game itself. It’s a welcome change from the usual run of the mill stuff, though – the mindless entertainers and the topsy-turvy cars. Even the action here is a tad bit more real, more believable but only a bit. In the end, it’s a Hindi film…