Neeraj Pandey itself is a name which should evoke a house full weekend.
With his string of successful and more than that REALISTIC films, Neeraj Pandey has made a niche for himself. So when Aiyaary was announced for a 26 Jan release, obviously all were waiting. With an all star cast of his favourites, Manoj Bapayee, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Kumud Mishra and add to that Vikram Gokhale, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Siddarth Malhotra, Rakul Preet Singh and Adil Hussain, this was an army thriller all were interested in.
So what works and doesn’t work for this movie? Well honestly, nothing!
At 160 minutes, this is not a thriller but a long message on the corruption prevalent in the country. But that is not breaking news. Even a junior school kid will tell you that. Hence the question, what was the intent behind the movie? Cos if the powers to be and censors had edited certain portions out, it doesn’t seem to make an iota of a change in result.
So just to give the plot in one line, a surveillance officer decides to turn rogue because he hears about the corruption in the army and in the country. Duh, did you need to hear the surveillance tapes for that? And what do you intend doing with this data, you steal it from the classified military facility by staring at the CCTV camera and then you intend selling it to the Adnan Khashoggis of the world along with the MI6? That is Siddarth Malhotra and his rendition of, ahem, Major Jai Bakshi for you.
I had mentioned this in Kapoor and Sons too, when pitched against a veteran like Ratna Pathak Shah, he fails miserably. Likewise here with Manoj as a counterpart, he is clueless. Feel bad for him, cos he is a good looking average actor. Should stick to the studio that launched him to make romantic films for him. His last hit being the above mentioned film in 2016, post which he has only 3 flops and am sure this one will crash too.
Bajpayee is the main star of the film here, but again his character seems half developed, meandering between blind justice and practical nationalism to outright silliness. Imagine going to Cairo for a shoot at sight, covert mission, waiting for 17 days on surveillance and eventually asking your lackey for ‘goli de’ and he returns dutifully with a box of Vitamins!!! I mean seriously?
Even in terms of realism, which was a forte of Pandey’s films, there is big cinematic liberties taken which just don’t gel.
Kumud Mishra is good, giving the impression he finished his shoot in one day and same outfit pre interval. But post interval even he seems lost, on the contrary the manner in which he decides to escape, is the most silly for a country where any charges would take years in our legal system and more so, where his junior officer can escape without a scratch.
Anupam in his cameo seems to have done the film only as a favour. Naseeruddin Shah’s plot and twist is the most silliest of the film. Waiting for him to be the big revelation in the end, the outright silliness of his story feels like taking the makers to the cleaners. But he is the only one again after Bajpayee who acts in the film.
Rakul Preet Singh is decent, Pooja Chopra looks emancipated.
Adil Hussain is one of my favourites and is again the only decent performer in this film, but suffers again due to poor writing.
The dialogues in the film, seem so forced, making the on screen drama come across as a school play majority of the times.
Pandey goofs up big time and I had mentioned this in Baby , that in order to just show something, he has started taking too many cinematic liberties, which impact the film. He should have released the film on 26 Jan itself, might have got a spillover of the historical, cos last night, the theatre was relatively empty for a Friday night.
By: Yusuf Poonawala