Movie Review: Wazir
Definition of Thriller
* a novel, play, or film with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or espionage.
* a very exciting contest or experience.
I went to see Wazir the other day with a large group of people expecting a great story line, direction, and the lip-smacking prospect of watching a jugalbandi of acting between Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar.
When the movie finally ended, here are a few reactions I heard from the crowd:
Duh! That’s it? That’s the suspense?
Really? That’s what you call a thriller, eh?
How dumb was that!?
What a waste of money, time, and talent :(
However, I must mention that some things work in favor of Wazir. A lot if I may add: the star cast is a stellar one right from the lead actors in the great Amitabh Bacchan and Farhan Akhtar to the men behind the scenes like Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi the writer from the famous Munnabhai Series fame. They manage to get people to the movie theaters alright, and effortlessly at that, but most people must have exited with a sour taste in their mouths and a lil (??) underwhelmed with the entire package. The most common feeling of being cheated in the name of a thriller being the primary candidate. I certainly was and I am sure others were too.
Wazir is about two grieving fathers who have lost their respective daughters in the most untimely and unfortunate way, the clues of which point towards a minister with links with terrorists.
Farhan Akhtar plays Daanish Ali a brave and honest ATS officer committed towards his work. On one such innocuous day — when he is with his family — he spots a wanted terrorist in the vicinity and begins to chase him leaving his wife at the shop and his daughter in the car’s back seat. Things unfold quickly as Farhan is caught unawares as the bad guys find out that they are being chased. Shots are exchanged and one such shot kills the lil one. Ruhana Ali played by the gorgeous Aditi Rao Hydari looking very au naturel — whose sole purpose in the movie is that of a showpiece throughout the movie — gets some much-needed air time when this tragedy befalls the family. Blaming Daanish for their daughter’s death, she shuns him out of her life. In the meantime, Daanish avenges the terrorist who killed his daughter when the ATS gets a lead on the terrorist’s location and makes an ambush at the spot. With no reconciliation with his wife in sight and the burgeoning weight of being responsible his daughter’s death, a guilt-ridden Daanish tried to kill himself at his daughter’s tomb, when he is disturbed by a loudly honking horn of a mysterious van. When the van vanishes, Daanish finds a wallet where the van was parked. This event sets off the movie.
Daanish being the good guy that he is; goes to return the wallet on the address that he finds inside it. Enter Pandit Omkarnath Dhar a wheelchair-bound chess master played by Amitabh Bachchan the owner of the wallet. Pandit ji informs Daanish that his daughter Noorie had come to learn chess a while ago and promised to bring her dad too. Pandit ji convinces Daanish — suspended by the ATS for killing the terrorist — to learn and play with the kids in his class. There is a growing camaraderie between the two over chess at different locations, and sometimes over a drinking chess game.
The friendship of Pandit ji and Daanish is as convincing as Donald Trump’s candidature for the US Presidental elections.
Pandit ji reveals how his own daughter Nina died under mysterious circumstances when she used to go to teach chess to Ruhi, the daughter of Welfare Minister Yazaad Qureshi played by — the unimpressive and probably the weakest link of the movie — Manav Kaul. Pandit ji is convinced that his daughter is killed by Qureshi but the police are unconvinced and want to close the file. Pandit ji protests by throwing a shoe at the minister’s convoy. In return, the minister sends a killer called Wazir played by Neil Nitin Mukesh — desparetly trying to sound and act like a maniac like the Joker from The Dark Knight — to straighten up Pandit ji. Wazir leaves Pandit ji seriously injured prompting Daanish to stand up to protect his friend. There is some cat-n-mouse game between Daanish and Wazir. In the meantime, Qureshi flys to Kashmir and Pandit ji decides to chase him there. On the way to the airport, while Daanish is attempting to stop Pandit ji from flying, Wazir blows up Pandit ji. An enraged Daanish decided to avenge Pandit ji’s death and lands in the Srinagar. With the help of SP played by John Abharam, he plans to take down the minister. At the end, it is reveled that the minister’s daughter is not his own, he killed Pandit ji’s daughter Ruhi, and was responsible for the death of Noorie too as the terrorist had come to meet the minister.
Bam within no time Daanish kills the minister and all is well in the world again. At the end Daanish comes to know that he was set up to kill Qureshi through a pre-recorded video of Pandit ji.
Sleek production values. The movie looks and feels technically polished.
The Cinematogrophy by Sanu Varghese stands out.
Performances by Amitabh and Farhan are good but the weak script and screenplay leaves them very little room to do anything.
What Does NOT Work?
The big-ticket jugalbandi between two great actors is missing.
The non-existent supporting cast. The antagonist in Manav Kaul is one of the poorly characters written in recent times. He does not have any no memorable lines either.
It’s ALL too evident throughout the movie that Pandit ji is using the shoulder of Daanish to shoot at Qureshi. There is no thrill or suspense to it whatsoever. There are no apparent twists in the tale or nasty surprises that shake you. The movie is dead before it arrives at the so-called suspense. It’s only the mere details that you are waiting at the end of it.
The friendship between Pandit ji and Daanish looks ‘forced’ and ‘fake’. One cannot possibly protect and kill for a friendship of a few days old unless you are Daanish the dumb ATS officer.
Earlier in the film, the ATS team tracks and locates a most wanted terrorist through his phone signals. Upon Daanish’s request, his friend in the ATS taps the phone a Union Minister, no less, to find out if Wazir contacts the minister. So evidently, one fails to understand why Daanish never botheres to track the private number from which Wazir is calling him constantly.
2 out 5 Stars