Wazir

MREVIEWwazirCAST: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Manav Kaul, Aditi Rao Hydari,
Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham
DIRECTION: Bejoy Nambiar
GENRE: Thriller
DURATION: 1 hour 43 minutes
STORY: Danish is chasing Wazir, an assassin linked to politician
Qureshi who’s threatening elderly chess master Pandit Dhar – in this
game of life and death, who’s playing whom as a pawn?

REVIEW: So, Wazir is a smart movie – which could have been way smarter.
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officer Daanish Ali (Farhan) loses his
daughter while chasing terrorists. His anguished wife Roohana (Aditi)
blames Daanish, who’s about to kill himself in guilt-laden grief.
Suddenly, he meets wheelchair-bound Pandit Omkar Nath Dhar (Amitabh),
who teaches Daanish about chess, life, love – and revenge. Panditji’s
own tragic tale leads Daanish to investigate Welfare Minister Qureishi
(Manav) – and then chase him furiously when brutal assassin Wazir
(Neil) attacks Pandit Dhar.

Wazir is held together by Amitabh Bachchan who shows why he is the
Grandmaster of this game. With sly glances and shy smiles, wry jokes
and escaped tears, Amitabh carves a character, mesmerising you as he
does Daanish, very competently played by Farhan who delivers intensity
and gentleness. As pashmina-smooth politician Qureishi, Manav Kaul
performs very admirably, adding to the movie’s tension, its eerie
quality, its things that go bang in the dark.

But the tension just isn’t hard enough.

With too many distractions – Aditi looks lovely but is constrained in a
chiffon-clad role featuring more dancing than dialogues – the plot
loses pace. There are too many kiddies, cupcakes and kathak cuts. When
the movie picks up speed – action sequences in Delhi and Srinagar are
terrific – you’re on a gritty edge. But when it over-indulges itself –
its writers and editors are the same – the game slips into stalemate.

It’s a pity because Wazir’s lead performances, its glassy
cinematography, its haunting sound design, work well. What this game
needed was more attack, less defence, less repetition, more
relentlessness.

As Panditji puts it, ‘Thora energy hona chahiya.’

Consistent hard focus over sentimental soft-focus would have let these
shatranj ke khiladi blow up that chess board. As it is, they complete
their game – but don’t check-mate smartly enough.