Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, Manav Kaul
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Wazir opens with Tere Bin, a beautiful song. It’s a music video and we are the baratis invited to watch the arranged marriage of Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hydari) and Daanish Ali (Farhan Akhtar). We only hear the romantic song and watch the lyrical video. It’s designed to convey the sort of marital show-piece bliss and perfection we’ve come to aspire to thanks to advertisements of expensive jewellery, insurance, trousseau and matrimony sites. Pretty people swathed in pretty things. There is just gorgeousness all around.
We mentally float in this sparkling happiness. But, because we are nurtured on a heavy diet of commercial cinema, we also know that too much familial happiness exists only so that the tragedy that must inevitably follow makes us too sad, or too mad.
These little happy sequences in cinema are recruitment tricks — they make us feel part of a family and, when havoc is wrecked upon them, ensure that we are in shock and take all bad things happening to them very personally.
It’s the sort of exploitative, maudlin cliché expected of lesser writers. Not the proud lot associated with this film. Wazir has been written by two worthies. Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi (Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots, PK) wrote its story and screenplay. And, by Chopra’s own admission, it seems that he had been working at this story since he was 28 years old or thereabouts. He is now 63. If they are using such third-rate tricks of the trade, they really should put proud down.
Ruhana is a Kathak dancer and Daanish an anti-terrorist squad cop. He loves her and their daughter Noori to death. One day, while Ruhana is getting frantic about being late for a dance performance, and their daughter is busy playing videogames in the backseat of his car, he spots a big terrorist, Rameez, and decides to give chase.
This leads to the tragedy we’ve been expecting since the pretty video. Only problem is that if you stop being shocked and anguished for a second and think, it’ll be clear that the need for revenge that this tragedy leads to stands on very precarious, very wobbly legs.
I mean, instead of turning him into a hero, Daanish should have been arrested for his stupidity and negligence. The tragedy that can’t be mentioned because it’ll be a spoiler isn’t the sort of event from which a hero should rise to seek revenge. It, in fact, shines light on what an epic moron Daanish is, if not the most callous and delusional man.
But in desi parivars, all tragedies are blamed on outsiders. And so our hero must find them and kill them. Which he does, even though his insides are laced with sleeping pills, given to him by a well-meaning colleague.
This kind of idiotic plotting makes me really mad and drowsy. The said sleeping pills serve only one purpose — to burnish the hero’s credentials as a killer machine. They exist only so that Daanish can feign mild drowsiness while we admire the will of the angry, grieving man as he goes dhain-dhain, shooting fast and shooting straight.
It’s the sort of childish ploys that may add some “ishtyle” to officers of the CID and Shaktimaan whose target audience is, I gather, six to 14 year olds. It’s too nonsensical to be fun in films meant for fully formed humans.
Bejoy Nambiar’s Wazir is not a bad film. It’s just incredibly mediocre when it shouldn’t have been given the illustrious roll-call it comes riding on — on screen and behind. Apart from the fact that Wazir’s story is clunky and the screenplay plods, there lies in its long spells of nothingness the sort of shoddiness that’s unacceptable.
My theory is simple. When people, actors are a little hungry, a bit starved and struggling, they try their best, they work hard. That holds true for all — you, me, Mr Bachchan, and especially Mr Vidhu Vinod Chopra.