Naam Shabana Film Review: Falters To Live Upto the Name

| March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

My name is Bond,James Bond. This iconic introduction has been copied,imitated,adapted but with no match till date. Even Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay Deenanath Chauhan or Naam hai Shahnshah has been just an impressive me too. So a film underlining the name of the protagonist, and that too a woman is a bold step in this cliche,convention laden,formula driven Bollywood.

Naam Shabana is a back story of Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu) of BABY fame, as to how she got recruited to India’s premier spy agency.

Whether its a fact or fiction, don’t know for sure, but it makes for a real interesting piece of information when second in command of the agency Ranvir aka Manoj Bajpayee spouts that at any given point of time around fifteen thousand potential candidates from all over India are kept under observation-surveillance to select the final recruits for the most secretive agency whose sole reason of existence is nation’s security.

Out of fifteen thousand,on an average, only four make it as field agents who are licensed to kill and are ready to be killed in carrying out operations for the agency. Whew!

Shabana is hand-picked by Manoj Bajpayee without any blackmail or coercion, to join the agency as part of the deal struck, whereby agency will help her track down the killers of Jai-her friend and suitor,as law enforcement machinery,that is police, gave her pleadings a cold shoulder.

Once she is able to get her personal revenge she will have to work for the agency incognito. Shabana agrees.

First hour of the movie that sets about Shabana as a champion Kudo player, her teenage trauma, her opening up to Jai and crushing of her budding romance with his murder, all keep you sufficiently engaged.

Her tracking by the agency is a kind of an episode of Big Boss. Though suspect, the technology of CCTVs,bluetooth,smartphones (it’s circa 2011-an era of Blackberry reigning supreme where it was chosen phone of the aspiring Indians), keeps pushing the proceedings.

 I wonder if our spy agencies and its special teams are so smart,savvy and sharp like shown in the film, then why are we haunted and targeted so blatantly!

With instructions bombarded at vulnerable but confident Shabana,incidents lend some thrilling moments.

Its post interval the story and screenplay lose sharpness and start becoming repetitive,predictable and pedestrian.

The mission Shabana is assigned to is so clichéd, where she has to take on and then take out the notorious arms dealer Mikhail (Prithviraj Sukumaran, impressive) with the help of Arjun (Akshay Kumar) and tech-savvy,acid tongued Shuklaji(Anupam Kher), who are reprising their characters from BABY. The climax is a cop out, very unlike Neeraj Pandey’ production and reminds one of BABY’s climax.

But Naam Shabana has no suspense,surprise,savviness,chutzoah and smartness of screenplay of BABY. Story,screenplay and dialogues by producer Neeraj Pandey himself, show sporadic sparks of his ingenuity.

Director Shivam Nair is efficient in his narrative style but handicapped by the tepid screenplay.

Repetitive training regime for Taapsee’s Shabana mars the flow. Though it is Taapsee’s energetic and intense performance that makes you tide over the bland and banal patches. She has really put her heart into the character and is one talent worth keeping under surveillance and tracking in coming years.

Akshay with his extending cameo is not able to lift the sagging scenario.At times it seems, that makers forget whose movie is it and make Taapsee walk in Akshay’s shadow.Then suddenly they realise it’s Taapsee’s story and make her come alive.

Manoj Bajpayee as the immediate boss is confined mostly within four walls or treading the terraces while giving commands or supervising the mission. Danny Denzongappa as the agency chief is given the short shrift with a blink-and-miss role. Oh, what a waste of such a powerful asset!

In one of the scenes, a teacher in Shabana’s class, expounds on what are assets and liabilities, not only in accounting but real world too.

Going by that yardstick Taapsee Pannu is definitely a precious asset. Manoj Bajpayee a valuable one. Prithviraj Sukumaran is a bankable asset. Akshay Kumar and Anupam Kher are UPAs (under performing assets). Danny Denzongappa is an NPA (non performing asset). Biggest liability is the story and screenplay that would definitely imbalance the Balance sheet at the BO.

With movie taking you from Mumbai,Goa,Vienna to Kualalumpur, it’s a feast for the eyes, but no fodder for mind ,adrenalin for the senses and home to your expectations.

Coming from Neeraj Pandey and his Friday Fireworks,with it’s impressive track of A Wednesday, Special 26, BABY, M S Dhoni- An Untold Story, Rustom, this one really falters and gives you Naam Bade Darshan Chhote. A below expectations deal.


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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