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Mediocre spy-thriller

Rythem Lath | New Delhi |

Naam Shabana starring Taapsee Pannu and Manoj Bajpayee in the lead along with Prithviraj Sukumaran is India’s first spin-off movie. The story talks about the journey of a girl from being a juvenile criminal to becoming a member of the elite team of an Indian intelligence system.

Being a by product of a Neeraj Pandey film, the expectations were set quite high. Shivam Nair who is the director could not do justice to its genre of being a spy-thriller. It has overdramatised revenge sequence which too is dragged for quite some time with all the ingredients of a typical bollywood revenge masala stories.

The major flaw in the film is its screenplay, it’s predictable throughout just like a children’s novel. You know there is a virtuous person, a vicious being, a tragedy followed by bravery and in the end triumph. The movie before the interval shows her back-story which fails to engage the audience due to lack of profundity in the characters and details of her past. Most of it is dominated by her vengeance for her love, while her training sequence is dragged unnecessarily for good 20 minutes.

The movie highlights the importance of martial arts and portrays how it has become a necessity and not a luxury for women anymore. Shabana is a young girl who fights with her dark past and eventually gets recruited by the Indian Agencies to combat international criminals. No doubt, Taapsee has done a brilliant job as an actor. Her expressions and dialogue delivery is bang on.

She has been shown as uncompromising courageous woman who didn’t let her past impede her present but rather used it as device to reconstruct herself. But the film tries too hard to be a women-centric one and hence loses its essence miserably. Also, few of the dialogues and body language by the agents around her give us a vague feeling of feminism. Although, the agency recruits her for her exceptional competence and keeps giving her the credit for all the wins, she is constantly seen rescued by Akshay Kumar in all the major episodes she encounters and solely been used for her gender and religious identity.

However the last 30 minutes is the only time when the audience get to feel the edge-of-the-eat kind of horror they felt in Neeraj Pandey’s other movies. If the film is not compared to its sequel Baby,it can be considered as an average thriller movie with a storyline just good enough for spending a casual afternoon at the theatres.

Ex-Chettinad Vidyasharam, Chennai