Do you remember Baby? The fast paced thriller with Akshay Kumar as the no-nonsense agent of the secret service. We do. It
Naam ShabanaBasic and uninspired
Do you remember Baby? The fast paced thriller with Akshay Kumar as the no-nonsense agent of the secret service. We do. It was classic Neeraj Pandey. You might also remember Taapsee Pannu as she did a little kickboxing in the film. Naam Shabana is a spin off of Baby, where the makers decide to show us how this beautiful young girl, came to be a member of the RAW. A little like when the makers of the X-men try to show us the origin stories of one of the mutants. With the zeal that Neeraj Pandey has attached to this film, we suspect that he may be looking to make ‘Baby’, and all the films attached to it, into something along the lines of the ‘Mission Impossible’ series. However, Naam Shabana is neither as strong as Wolverine, nor is it as thrilling as Mission Impossible. Is it worth your weekend? Read on.
First, let’s meet the actors:
Taapsee Pannu as Shabana
Akshay Kumar as the best that RAW has
Manoj Bajpayee as the Bluetooth guy
Anupam Kher in a special appearance (more or less)
The film features the characteristic Neeraj Pandey brigade. Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher etc. It is an action thriller and promises to keep us at the edge of our seats. This film is different however, since the makers chose the latest Bollywood sensation, Taapsee Pannu to play the mechanical and fearless killing machine, rather than Akshay Kumar as is usually the case. The film also has many references to it’s parent film and all the characters are reprising their roles, with hardly any new introductions. Neeraj Pandey did step out of his comfort zone just slightly, by placing the spotlight on Taapsee, who is still inexperienced, and by adding the angle of begrudging revenge to the theme of the story, which is usually either emotionless, clever or subtly melancholic. His gamble however, did not pay off.
Too much weight was placed on poor Taapsee, who seemed more like a bewildered pigeon surrounded by cats than anything else throughout the film. She did try her very best, but could not put up a good show. Her performance was subpar right from the dialogue delivery to the action sequences. However, we will give her the compliment of taking up a demanding role despite her obvious struggle. Watching her small triumphs in hand-to-hand combat may not be a technical marvel, but they sure were swift and skilled and elicit a certain amount of happiness as well as surprise, given her feminine nature and limber figure.
The film has a below average storyline. Infact, the first half is almost excruciatingly slow and too much of a drag. Things start to pick up in the second half, when Akshay arrives on screen and dominates it with his suave demeanour and effortless aggression.
The cinematography, screenplay and story are all terrible. Even the direction is murder. The background score is comically over emphasised. The only thing that makes the film work in the second half is Akshay Kumar with his screen presence.
Naam Shabana is too ambitious at first glance, but at a closer look, you will find that it is mismanaged as well. Taapsee has a long way to go and Neeraj Pandey ought to not cut costs at the production level in so far as editing or background tracks are concerned.
In case you really have to watch a film this weekend, go watch Naam Shabana, but if it isn’t imperative, we suggest that you leave this one be. I give it 2.5/5.
You will like this film if: You liked Akshay Kumar’s Baby and don’t mind spending on movie tickets
You will dislike this film if: You need other displays of emotion in a film other than steely stares and powerful punches
Best performance: Akshay Kumar