‘Badla’ review: As Amitabh gives a restrained and fantastic performance, Taapsee falls short of expectations

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh, Tony Luke, Manav Kaul

Rating: *** and a half

The actor duo Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu are back together after their successful movie Pink together. This time they are in a thriller, which has Taapsee playing a murder accused businesswoman Naina Sahni and Amitabh Bachchan playing her newly appointed advocate, Badal Gupta.

Badla, an official remake of Spanish film The Invisible Guest, is directed by Sujoy Ghosh, who earlier thrilled us with his Kahaani series.

Naina Sahni is in deep trouble as she is found in a hotel room with her murdered lover, Arjun Mehta (Tony Luke), and now she has to fight her way out. She claims to be innocent but all evidences are stacked against her as there are no signs of escape from the hotel room. Naina, a married woman with a daughter, claims Arjun and she had been blackmailed because of their affair and a tragic incident that happened with them. They had been called to the hotel room by the blackmailer. It is upto advocate Gupta to get to the bottom of things, and he insists on knowing every detail from Naina. Naina is not sure if she can trust him enough to reveal everything that she knows. Meanwhile, there is another murder of a young man and his mother Rani (Amrita Singh) is hell bent on nailing the murderer, as she doesn’t get much help from the cops.

Ghosh depends a lot on the performances of his lead actors, Bachchan and Pannu, as a large part of the film is set in a house with both these actors going through a gamut of emotions as Gupta is trying to eke out information from Naina. Ghosh manages to build up the suspense through a lot of silences and choice of words between his lead characters and the perfectly set background music helps him achieve this. Amitabh Bachchan as a shrewd advocate gives a restrained and fantastic performance, as he subtly and slowly works his way towards earning Naina’s trust. Taapsee Pannu, however, falls short of expectations, as she stumbles while executing the range of emotions that one would expect her character to go through. Pannu is stuck with one expression of bewilderment for most part of the film and that is disappointing.

It is a pleasure to watch Amrita Singh on big screen and she’s bang on with her role of a determined mother leaving no stones unturned to find the whereabouts of her missing son. The Malayalam model actor Tony Luke makes his Hindi debut with this film. While Luke is pretty effective with his role, his strong south Indian accent comes in the way. Manav Gohil is wasted in a small and insignificant role.

Ghosh yet again manages to keep you curious through the two-hour duration of the film and to his and the film’s story’s credit, it is not easy to guess the truth. Ghosh manages to keep the interest going through an interesting screenplay (written by him) and smart dialogues (written by Raj Vasant).

Watch this film for the thrill and for Amitabh Bachchan.