Movie Review: Baaghi (2016)
Director: Sabbir Khan
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Sudheer Babu, with Sunil Grover, and Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj as Guruswamy
Writer: Sanjeev Datta
Rating: 3.2/5 stars
Baaghi is one of India’s most realistically choreographed action movies, and that rare Bollywood film, which not only showcases martial arts fights scenes, but does so with style, confidence, authenticity, and homage to this ancient and revered art form. (Other similar Bollywood vehicles that come to mind after watching Baaghi are Akshay Kumar’s Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi and Vidyut Jammwal’s Commando.) By no means will the film offer you a unique, immersive cinematic experience, but, then again, it doesn’t pretend to do so either. What it sets out to do is take you on a pulsating, highly entertaining rollercoaster of emotions, romance, action, music, exotic locations, and, then, some more action – a feat that it accomplishes admirably well.
If you think that Baaghi is all about the action, then think again. If you’re one of those who’ve seen the terrific 2011 Indonesian film, The Raid: Redemption, and assumed from some of the rushes in the trailer that Baaghi is a version of that film, then, once again, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, Baaghi is action-packed, yes the climax has a few elements similar to The Raid, but, at the end of the day, it’s an out-an-out Bollywood potboiler done right after a long time.
Director Sabbir Khan handles some of the emotional moments as well as the action sequences with good maturity, showing how much he’s improving with each film. However, he has miles to go before learning how to put together a cohesive narrative, and his handling of both romantic and comic sequences leaves a lot to be desired, with some pseudo-funny situations ending up being literally cringe-worthy.
Tiger Shroff has improved by leaps and bounds since Heropanti. His action skills were never in doubt, and they’ve been utilized to mind-blowing results here. There’s no way that your heart won’t beat faster every time Tiger spins a bad guy’s head off with one of his cool kicks. But, it’s his dialogue delivery that has shown a marked improvement, with him delivering some classic one-liners and witty repartees like a tough action hero should. However, he still needs to work quite a bit on handling emotional scenes.
Shraddha is no damsel-in-distress over here, and she makes a good case for making an action film centered on her alone. Her acting skills were never in doubt to begin with, and she impresses yet again. But, the surprise package all the way is Sudheer Babu, who strikes just the right balance between menace, over-confidence, and ruthlessness. He’s a great discovery from the south, and after Baaghi, more Bollywood filmmakers should take notice of him.
At the end of the day, Baaghi will satisfy people who love a good entertaining ride, it’ll satisfy those who love action films even more, and it’ll also appease those who’re looking for a sensibly made film that, though packs in a lot of commercial aspects, never goes overboard with them. It’s not without its flaws or logical loopholes, but it draws you in, entertains you to the hilt, and leaves you with your heart racing. That’s about as good as it gets for a weekend dose of entertainment.
Images Courtesy: Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment