Mahesh Bhatt takes the director’s chair after 21 years and gives a film that goes nowhere, far down than what the master filmmaker is known for
1991. Sadak. Very good film. Reason: Content, screenplay, performances. 2020. Sadak 2. Not a good film. Reason: Half hearted approach in the same elements. This one has one of the most gripping opening sequences in the recent times. You watch it and you’re instantly anticipating powerhouse of content. There is indeed so much on the platter to offer, but it only creates a hotchpotch.
Aarya (Alia Bhatt) is declared mentally unstable by her family and admitted into an asylum, as per the will of her evil stepmother Nandini (Priyanka Bose), who was also her maternal aunt, much to the dismay of her father Yogesh (Jisshu Sengupta). She escapes the asylum and reaches the travelling agency run by Ravi Kishore (Sanjay Dutt) with a taxi booking receipt. Ravi, who is suicidal due to his sadness in life, is unwilling to take her on her trip. But gives in after he gets a go-ahead from his dead wife Pooja (Pooja Bhatt), who he occasionally talks to.
Written by Mahesh Bhatt and Suhrita Sengupta, it is a mix-of-so-many-things story. The main problem with the plot is that it is never clear as to what the main idea of the film is, or what it tries to say in the first place.
This is a film that attempts messaging. But the basic premise is flawed. Initially, it talks about the kingdoms of fake and self-proclaimed godmen. It then goes on to talk about family duel. It also goes on further to bring in a love angle, which is also suspicious for some other reason. Alongside all this, you have Ravi Kishore straight from the 1991 film. All these run parallel. Still, no trouble. What is troublesome is that none of this is justified, except for Ravi’s intentions are justified.
Watch the trailer here:
The film starts to bore you in no time. The way screenplay is written, the makers want you to be thrilled but have forgotten to incorporate the elements of a thriller. The gory world of black magic or fake godmen has been attempted in a way that it must keep you scared, but none of it happens. Infact, it is shown in a way that evokes cringe.
What is good is that layers to characters have been given. With secretive qualities given to almost all of them, there is a surprise that you can look forward to. But even with this, the story doesn’t make an impact whatsoever. The scenes lack absolute conviction and seem cliché and cheesy. Why the characters travel to where they travel, what they actually want to achieve, and what’s the purpose is actually forever lost.
The connect to 1991 film is also very superficial with some clips from that film flashing as Ravi’s memoirs. Why Ravi is invested in Aarya’s life has nothing to do with the original film, and that is still understandable.
Sanjay Dutt has performed ably. He has shades but it’s not a difficult role for him to play. He is emotional, strong, empathetic, and does his best as a mature father figure to Alia’s character.
Alia Bhatt is also good. Her character here doesn’t need great acting skills, and hence she may come across as someone naive. Not to take away the notion that she has proved her acting mettle many times earlier. Here, she does what is needed of her. Aditya Roy Kapur is definitely capable of much more as an actor. He is clearly underutilized here.
Similar underutilization or rather a wastage has been made of Makarand Deshpande. He has been given a key role, but that role itself is written shabbily that he doesn’t come to screen often. He does well. But not enough.
Jisshu Sengupta is brilliant with the most shades in his character. He rises beyond all this previous Bollywood outings and gives a powerful performance. Priyanka Bose is also underutilized, as she is an actress of great genius. She also has depths in her role, but even her role hasn’t been given justice. It is the writing that is faulty.
Mohan Kapoor is just okay, and there is nothing great about him. He is also a very good actor otherwise. Akshay Anand does fine with a limited and restricted role.
Music by an army of musicians doesn’t do any good for the film or the mood while the film is on. Sandeep Chowta’s background score is still better compared to the songs positioning of the film. It also could be better.
Cinematography by Jay I. Patel is good for the darker parts of the film and the landscapes that it captures. However, the writing of the film doesn’t give any importance to the locations in the narrative, hence the camera is helpless there. Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty in production design match the camera, wherever needed. Not bad at all.
Editing by Sandeep Kurup has been done satisfactorily well justifying the written material the level best. The film does bore you at several points, which is a big disappointment.
The film could go places if the screenplay was written in an altogether different way. The approach needed to be distinct. As for Mahesh Bhatt, who is making a film after 21years, it was very important to leave his mark, which he fails to do.