Cast – Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Sanjai Mishra, Vidyut Jammwal, Sunny Leone (Guest)
- Directed by – Milan Luthria
- Produced by – Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Milan Luthria
- Written by – Rajat Arora
- Background Score – John Stewart Eduri
- Cinematography – Sunita Radia
- Edited by – Aarif Sheikh
- Production House – T-Series, Vertex Motion Pictures
- Duration – 2 hours 42 minutes
- Censor Rating – U/A
- Genre – Period Drama, Heist, Thriller
A period piece set in the Emergency era – one of India’s darkest and most controversial times. A heroine modeled loosely after the most graceful of Indian royals – Jaipur’s Queen Gayatri Devi, a sleazy politician whose resemblance to one of the eminent scions of a well-known political dynasty, the story of a hidden treasure, Devgn as a modern Robin Hood, kohl trimmed eyes Emraan Hashmi, Sanjai Mishra’s quintessential brand of humour, and a Sunny Leone item number. Sounds like the making of a super hit blockbuster, right? Get ready for the disappointment of the year – Baadshaho.
While we set out to outline the plot, we realize that there is none. Rajat Arora did manage to create the settings, right, though.
A young beautiful queen of a princely state in Rajasthan, Geetanjali (Ileana D’Cruz) spurs the advances of a politician. A couple of years later Emergency is declared and the politician decides to imprison the Queen and details the Army to bring him the hidden treasure in her palace. The Queen entrusts her erstwhile bodyguard Bhawani Singh (Ajay Devgn) to pull a daring heist and retrieve the treasure while it is being transported by Major Seher to Delhi. Assisting Devgn are daredevil playboy, Daliya (Emraan Hashmi), master lock picket Tikla (Sanjai Mishra), pretty face Sanjana (Esha Gupta).
Unfortunately, that is where the plot ends. Baadshaho lacks any thrilling twists, keeps-me-glued-to-my-seat moments, and even the semblance of sane execution. Arora went on to write out an extremely insipid and dull screenplay for what could have been the heist drama of the year.
We’re still trying to figure out which part of Baadshaho merits a review. Certainly not the childish lines that Devgn and his cronies are found mouthing from time to time, not the fact that Milan Luthria seems to have forgotten (or perhaps still is unaware) of the difference between Police and Army, not surely the meaningless explosions and gruesome torture that intersperses the “chase”, and certainly not the fact that none of the four pulling off the heist seems to have any motivation or greed or any weakness either. Luthria has failed on two major counts –
- To understand that the audience is made up of intelligent people
- To provide pillows for us as we take a snooze through this bland film
As for the performances there is nothing much to say. Devgn, for one, must start picking roles where he can show off his acting skills rather than his stunts and muscle power, Hashmi looks like a failed rogue with nothing to say or do, Mishra’s humour is trite, and Gupta is just another pretty face. The Hashmi – Gupta romance could have lent the film a much needed spark but like the rest of the film this thread too is left unexplored.
There is one person who deserves credit for having done their job well, though. Sunita Radia’s lenses have managed to capture the beauty of Rajasthan well and the sepia tones narrative seems almost bearable. Aarif Sheikh seems to have developed a new editing technique aimed at leaving the audience confounded rather than add any intrigue to the nonexistent storyline.
Baadshaho’s music is a medley. There are 9 track listings but if you’ve managed to sleep through most of the film you may miss all but one. “Mere Rashke Qamar”, composed by the legendary Late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (rehashed by Tanishk Bagchi, sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan) is the best and most hummable song. Piya More is another nice song, composed by Ankit Tiwari and sung by Neeti Mohan ad Mika Singh. Sunny Leone may capture your attention in this song, though. The remaining songs are just about average.
Stay at home, read a book, take a snooze, donate the money, make yourself some popcorn, watch 1978 box office disaster Shalimar on cable TV – whatever you do, do not venture out to watch Baadshaho. The only mystery you’re likely to end up with is, “Why is the film called Baadshaho?”
Rating – 1½*