‘Baazaar’ review: Wasted opportunity by a debut director

Director: Gauravv K Chawla

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Chitrangada Singh, Radhika Apte, Rohan Mehra, Saurabh Shukla

Rating: **

This film, touted as a stock market thriller, has been stuck in the cans for a while now, till it finally saw the light of the day.

The film mainly attempts to talk about the unlimited greed and ambition of human beings, which could lead them to do whatever possible in their might to reach their goals. Shakun Kothari aka Nawab (Saif Ali Khan) is a ruthless businessman who thinks nothing of manipulating the stock market figures for his own benefit. He’s hugely successful and even though the SEBI knows of his malpractices, they are struggling to find evidence to nail him down.

Shakun is supposedly too shrewd to leave any evidence and goes from strength to strength thus attracting the admiration of other stock market enthusiasts. One such bright young man is Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) from Alibaug, whose dream is to go to Mumbai and work with Shakun. His dreams do come true in a way, and he also happens to meet a woman of his dreams, Priya Rai (Radhika Apte), but soon he realises that Shakun is ruthless and could use anybody to further his ambitions. Shakun’s wife Mandira Kothari (Chitrangada Singh) is not too happy with his ways and keeps asking him to mend them.

This could have been a wonderful premise for a film, especially with an actor like Saif playing the central character. It could even be thrilling if the screenplay writers (Nikhil Advani, Pervez Sheikh, Aseem Arora) and the debut director (Gauravv K Chawla) kept themselves more abreast with the stock market shenanigans. Rizwan is supposed to be this exceptionally shrewd guy, but nothing that he does or attempts to do is any different from an ordinary guy in trading in any stock market wouldn’t do.

There are quite a few things in the story that are attempted as turning points, but turn out to be damp squibs. For example, Shakun outs his rival (Denzil Smith), a Pharma company owner by publicly shaming him about him giving incentives to doctors, and thus ending his career. How is it even an issue in the current time? In short, there is nothing that the story has to offer about a stock market that an informed audience member doesn’t already know.  Also, Rizwan’s confused ideology makes it difficult to root for him. The film comes across as more wannabe than a smart, suave film that it is trying to be.

Saif Ali Khan as the cool, shrewd Shakun Kothari is a perfect fit. He is subtle and powerful… Actor Vinod Mehra’s son, Rohan Mehra makes a debut with this film and he is quite earnest. He shows potential and might do well in a better film.  Radhika Apte has a meaty role and she does a good job. Chitrangada Singh has nothing much to do.  This is a wasted opportunity by the debut director.

Watch this film only if you have been missing watching Saif Ali Khan on the big screen.