Films | Naam Shabana- Movie Review

Naam Shabana- Movie Review

Posted by Vivek on April 2, 2017 | No Comments

FILM – Naam Shabana

PRODUCER – Neeraj Pandey, Shital Bhatia

DIRECTOR – Shivam Nair

WRITER – Neeraj Pandey

CAST – Tapsee Pannu, Manoj Bajpayee, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Virendra Saxena

MUSIC – Rochak Kohli

Naam Shabana is a prequel to the Akshay Kumar starrer Baby (2015) and tells the story of Shabana (Tapsee Pannu reprising her role) and her recruitment into the team. It brings back almost the entire team back in small cameos in Ajay (Aksay Kumar), Shuklaji (Anupam Kher), Feroze Khan (Danny Denzongpa) and even secondary characters of Mr Gupta (Murli Sharma) and Ajay’s wife Anjali (Madhurima Tuli). Together then they end up taking the entire story away from Shabana into the smartness of team Baby (and the film itself).

This is not to insinuate that the film (and the team) isn’t smart, both are, but a film meant to be centred around Shabana doesn’t remain so till the end and that disproves its smartness. Her beginnings as a counter-intelligence spy morphs into a series of set pieces bringing back the entire team to help her achieve her mission which is fine, but after having Shabana reduced to a stooge, which seems out of place. Especially so, because the entire team seems to be behaving as though they were in a sequel and not a prequel of the previous film.

There is enough focus and attention on Shabana’s journey in the first half. The writers take special efforts to give her a compelling emotional arc (maybe because a woman needs to have one to become a spy, a male domain?). Tapsee Pannu is every bit convincing and compelling both as a vulnerable, broken-hearted girl and a tough, gutsy fighter spirit. There are extensive fight and action sequences in the film, with Kudo and Krav Maga preferred to parakouring thankfully, and Tapsee Pannu is confident and focussed in all of them.

Naam Shabana is action-packed and fast-paced, as follow-the-lead-to-the-next-turning-point as Baby. It also brings back Malayalam cinema star Prithviraj Sukumaran (after Aiyya, Aurangzeb) to add weight to the film as the bad man and he is delectable. The mastermind here is Manoj Bajpai as Ranvir Singh, who calls the shots and he does a fine job of it too. Akshay, Danny and Anupam Kher appear in cameos, as reminders of the (goodwill of the) last film, and together they pack enough of a punch for an action spy thriller film.

Just that as a genesis film it is a let-down. For an action-laden adventure helmed by a girl, it is an interesting concept, but for all its efforts it clearly seems like a waywardly put together film just to cash in on the goodwill of its former compatriot and that isn’t a good feeling to accompany coke and popcorn.

Fatema Kagalwala

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