Baby : Hollywood and Strategy Game Style Action Thriller
Baby is the latest film from Niraj Pandey, the Director of nail biting entertainers like “A Wednesday” and “Special 26”. He is a no non-sense film maker who do not follow the formula of MASALA films but his movies are still workable in commercial format even without the regular music and dance routines.
Niraj Pandey seems to have closely studied functioning of government departments taking care of public safety and National Security. In “A Wednesday” and “Special 26” he has shown detailed functioning of Police department. In “Baby”, he shows a special elite group of secret agents for a trial period of 5 years to test the success of the idea. As it is a new group, it is named “Baby”. So the movie is about the operations of this groups.
Ajay Singh Rathore (Akshay Kumar) is one of the last few men remaining in this group who believes in killing the enemy than dying for the country. He has a supportive wife (Madhurima) and 2 kids. But while caring for country, he never gets time to spend it with family. While doing all such sacrifices, he is focus on eliminating the enemies of the country one by one and tries to always stay 1 step ahead of them.
He is guided and supported by his Senior Firoz (Danny Denzongpa) who always gets what Ajay wants from the Ministry. After the failure of multiple attempts of terrorism, Mohammad (Rasheed Naz), the Pakistani mastermind, decides to bring out Bilal (Kay Kay Menon) out of Jail. Ajay’s mission is to get rid Bilal before he can do any harm. He is supported by Shuklaji (Anupam Kher) and Jai (Rana Daggubati) in this final mission. However, what happens at the mission is totally different than they imagined. What exactly is that? That’s what the post interval story is about.
Story, Screenplay and Direction is by Niraj Pandey himself. It is a very good concept if not unique. We have seen many such movies in Hollywood and failed attempts of remaking them in Bollywood. So these movies depend more on the screenplay and direction than actual story. Thankfully, Niraj is good at both.
Writing wise it is a very flat movie, one operation after another. There are not many highs or twists which can be remembered for long. In fact, most of the time it is improvisation of the scene using visual and editing gimmicks to make audience have an edge of the seat experience. Each operation builds expectation that something great is going to happen but when it ends, it is only a clue to the next one (leaving the audience with a craving for more). This incompleteness is the hindrance in turning this Good movie into a Great movie.
Director Niraj Pandey knows his kills and plays around his forte. The film is very high quality in terms of treatment and gives a feel that of a Hollywood product. The slickness and stylized presentation keeps the audience glued to the screen. There is an underline intention to show the sacrifice of such dedicated officers and their families. There is also an important message that it is not good to paint one community completely in black color just because a % of its fanatic members are dominating the scene currently. It successfully delivers the message that this war against terrorism is not possible without participation from good souls from these communities.
Second half is much better than the first half which is not bad either. But in second half we get edge of the seat experience and climax will surprise everyone. It may be a cautious attempt to show such operations in realistic way without giving dramatic results but as an entertainer that is giving a feeling of something lacking.
Film Editing by Shree Narayan Singh is good but he could have made the film crisper. 2 hr 40 mins makes it an unnecessarily dragged film. around 2 hrs duration could have made it even better action thriller.
Vicky Sidana has done a great job as Casting Director because this was a very difficult film to cast as it needs actors who can represent different Nationals as the story is happens in multiple countries. Akshay Kumar is doing what he does best, Action! And this time it is without any unnecessary comic and romantic tracks and that makes this a better Action film. He carries the film on his shoulders.
Danny Denzongpa, Anupam Kher and Rasheed Naz stands out. Kay Kay Menon did justice to his role but do not have much scope. Same with Rana Daggubatti). A special mention and applause is required for Tapasi Pannu who looks fabulous and shocks us with what she does in one of the operations in Nepal (I won’t spill the beans here). I am sure we will get to see her more often in Bollywood. Madhurima Tuli as Ajay’s wife is a miscast. Better writing could have given justice to all these fabulous actors. Small roles shall not mean passable characters.
Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is breath taking and awe inspiring. Action by Abbas Ali Moghul is good. Film has very good sound design and DI/coloring. Production wise, it is indeed a very well made film.
Overall, a very good action thriller which gets better as it progresses.
Recommendation : If you are a movie buff who can not leave without watching a movie, do watch it. You will not be disappointed. But if you need extra ordinary entertainer to go spend your hard earned money on cinema tickets, you may choose to wait for it to be aired on satellite tv. However, anyone who will goes for it, won’t be disappointed. This is much better than any of the other run of the mill Bollywood potboilers.