Badlapur is a dark twisted drama with poignant performances

A strong screenplay, with many second-half twists and a quirky ending, makes Badlapur a treat for the viewers.

Badlapur

Director: Sriram Raghavan

Starring: Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam

Three stars

Badlapur, a revenge saga ­spanning more than 15 years, is a ­delicious cocktail of complex psychological emotions wrapped up in a fast-paced plot.

The film is the story of Raghu (Varun Dhawan), whose wife and young son are killed during a bank robbery carried out by Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and his partner. With Liak caught and jailed for the crime, but his partner evading arrest, Raghu bides his time waiting for Liak’s release so that he can exact revenge on his family’s killers.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say. Badlapur, however, is anything but cold – with powerful performances from both leading men, who set the screen ablaze with their intense performances.

Dhawan, adept at playing the boy-next-door in most of his previous films, delivers a classy performance as a loving husband-turned-vengeful widower. His pain at the loss of his family is palpable and his metamorphosis into a cold-­blooded, hammer-wielding killer on ­Liak’s trail is commendable.

However, the film belongs to his nemesis, Siddiqui, who is exceptional in his portrayal of a wily, small-time thief. He has given such life to Liak’s character in a layered performance that he’s loved and loathed at the same time. Liak’s time in the prison and his never-ending squabbling with fellow inmates is one of the highlights of the movie.

Cameos from Yami Gautam (as Raghu’s wife) and Huma Qureshi (Liak’s love interest) add a human touch to the ­characters.

As the film progresses, the ­director Sriram Raghavan expertly draws out the interplay of mangled emotions, portraying the darker side of Raghu and the softer side of Liak – thus blurring the line between good and bad, right and wrong. So skilful is the direction that, in the end, the audience is left wondering whether it should demonise Raghu and empathise with Liak.

A strong screenplay, with many second-half twists and a quirky ending, makes Badlapur a treat for the viewers.

The film had begun with an African proverb "the axe ­forgets, the tree remembers". Badlapur is something that the viewers won't forget in a hurry.

artslife@thenational.ae

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