Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘Khamosh’ (1985) is, perhaps, one of the best thrillers to have come out of the Hindi film industry. The maverick filmmaker has made and backed several credible films since then but he did not churn out a thriller again. Chopra had planned to make a Hollywood film called Chess several years back but the film never saw the light of the day. Several years later, the project was finally revived with a new name and a different director. The directorial reins of Wazir, written by Chopra and Abhijat Joshi, were handed over to Bejoy Nambiar who had earlier directed ‘Shaitan’ and ‘David’.
Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) is an ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) officer who has an encounter with a group of terrorists. A cross fire takes place and Danish ends up losing his four year old daughter. The incident leads to a separation from his wife Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hydari) who blames him for the death of their daughter. Danish manages to nab the terrorist who was behind the death of his daughter and kills him. As he did not have the authority to kill the terrorist, he is suspended. Danish is aggrieved with the unfortunate turn of events in his life. He comes across Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan), a paralysed chess grandmaster, who used to coach Danish’s daughter. Pandit, too, is grappling with the loss of his daughter. Soon, they became friends and Danish decides to help get justice for his daughter’s alleged murder. In the meantime, Pandit is attacked by a mysterious hoodlum called Wazir (Neil Nitin Mukesh).
A good thriller is one which should keep you on the edge of your seat. Even though ‘Wazir’ is just 104 minutes long, you get restless as you see the narrative unfold in front of your eyes. One feels that the maker’s intention was to make the film as realistic as possible. So, it is flabbergasting to witness several events which are far from being believable. The way in which Danish takes down the terrorists (in a Rambo-like avatar) is far from being convincing. And, how Danish, a suspended cop, continues to enjoy all the privileges of one as he gets the help of the entire force as and when he needs? The sequence in which Wazir assaults Pandit lacks punch. The final twist (the one involving Wazir’s identity) does not make an impact. The climax seems rushed up.
What works in favour of the film is the camaraderie shared by the two male protagonists. The bond shared between two men coping with the loss of their loved ones has been portrayed very well. The emotional quotient in the film comes across fairly well.
Amitabh Bachchan is outstanding and does complete justice to a complex character. Farhan Akhtar gets the best part and a wide range of emotions to bring to the fore as an actor. He is convincing as a no-nonsense cop and brings out the vulnerability of a shattered man very well too. Aditi Rao Hydari does not get a meaty role but shines in every scene she appears in. Manav Kaul tries his best to lend some spunk to a badly written character. Neil Nitin Mukesh leaves a huge mark in a brief role. John Abraham, in a cameo, is decent.
With his earlier films, Bejoy Nambiar had already proved that he has a keen eye for visuals. He tries to get the best visual output from the script written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi. But, how far and to what extent a director can elevate a middling script to? Sanu Varghese’s camerawork is exemplary. The editing (Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi) is shoddy. The film has a few songs out of which “Tere Bin” leaves a mark. Ankit Tiwari ‘s “Tu Mere Paas” is played several times in the film and at inappropriate places, which in turn annoys. The dialogues (Abhijeet Deshpande; additional dialogues: Ghazal Dhaliwal) are forgettable. The background score (Rohit Kulkarni) is good.
‘Wazir’ shows some promise as an emotional drama but falters as a thriller. A lacklustre plot, a weak antagonist and an incoherent narrative result in a film that serves more yawns than chills.