Film: Batla HouseCast: John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur, Nora FatehiDirection: Nikkhil AdvaniDuration: 2 hours, 25 minutes Language: Hindi
Story: The film is based on 2008’s controversial Batla House encounter of Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. It raised eyebrows about the Delhi Police, ACP Sanjeev Kumar and the intent of the operation. The movie tries to answer the question.
Review: The film grabs you by the scruff of the neck to see the grim reality of communal disharmony and the riots it births. With gripping action sequences and fight-offs, John’s muscle power speaks its own language. His stoicism can be branded as effortless. The highlight is that the movie also scratches the surface of post-traumatic disorder as John’s character struggles with a bullet that didn’t kill him. He turns to therapy, which steers the conversation in the right direction.
Nora Fatehi is a revelation in the second half, which pulls better strings than the the first. The courtroom sequence makes for the most engaging part of the drama.
One cannot lay more emphasis on how the film wastes the talent that is Mrunal Thakur. Her character mouths the most of the clichéd lines. John’s character isn’t that far behind either. Apart from the not-so-subtle jargons, the chest-thumping one-liners mar the buildup. The romantic track between the two sticks out like a sore thumb. Vein-popping display of arms aside, even John’s restrained cop act falters at times when the plot needs it the most, especially in confrontational scenes.
Director Nikkhil Advani tries to keep the pace but the storytelling consumes a lot of time on the peripheral red-tapism rather than getting to the point. Only in the second half does one see the story that was promised.
Verdict: John is on his home turf as he portrays the role of a decorated officer; it’s nothing we have not already seen. Watch it for the depiction of real-life incidents and the obvious cinematic liberties. It’s not really the Independence Day treat but makes for a good one-time watch.
—Zee Media Newsroom