Director Tigmanshu Dhulia sets up friendship in a plot that revolves around crime spanning decades
This one has Tigmanshu Dhulia’s signature everywhere. If you have followed him over the years, you would have seen from the film’s direction that it’s Dhulia. Who else can paint politics amid crime so beautifully? Yaara is essentially a tale of friendship, involving things that keep you hooked by means of politics, naxal movement, criminal activities here and there and a lot of drama. If you like all this, this film is surely for you.
It’s late 1990s. Mitwa (Amit Sadh), a notorious wanted criminal, now old, has returned to Delhi. His return has invited trouble for three of his old-time friends Phagun (Vidyut Jammwal), Rizwan (Vijay Varma), and Bahadur (Kenny Basumatary), all having a dark past as Chowkdi Gang but are now successful businessmen. How their friendship is put to test and how have they reached where they are is what the plot is.
Written by Dhulia himself including dialogues, the film has substance for the genre it is made in. Not that it is novel. There are elements that you have seen before in bits and pieces in numerous films of the past. But what takes the cake here is the treatment. The film travels back and forth and the narrative structure keeps you engaged.
There are typical tropes that Dhulia does resort to- like how young boys are drawn into the world of crime, how they want to get bigger and bigger, problems that arise, one person who emerges out of nowhere who may go astray, and similar notions. What is new here is the angle of friendship on which the film heavily relies on. Infact, it is this particular direction that sets the film apart. There are sequences where Phagun’s wife Sukanya (Shruti Haasan) gets upset with him, or parts where Phagun makes certain decisions for his friends, making the film stronger in its appeal.
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There is a certain predictability too, attached with the film. But don’t blame the writing for it. The writing has done justice to the structure and the inherent nature of the story. Since you have seen films of such nature and if you watch this with a keen eye, you may be able to guess the endpoint.
What is attractive about the film though is the vintage feel, right from the opening credits. Achieved brilliantly through the combination of costumes, make-up, camera and sets, this visual appeal makes it brilliant for the most of the part. Ofcourse, the film would have been more appealing on a bigger screen, given its rich visual palette. There is a distinct style in the film, coming from the raw and rustic nature of the crime involved. Very different from the typical U.P.-Bihar slangs that you have been listening to in films of the similar story line, this one rests on its unique but authentic flavour.
There are also thrilling portions, which Dhulia masters in. The parts involving naxal movement are less, but convey the essence nonetheless. The graph of the film is justified, giving you breathers and drama, all in equal proportions.
Vidyut Jammwal is very good. For the first time ever, he is both your quintessential hero and also a pivotal character. Here Jammwal is not only about self choreographed death defying stunts. It is a pleasant change to see him in this avatar, were he is the leader, taking the gang forward and also being the mature one. He has the maximum shades to his character. His tough looks prove to be an added advantage.
Amit Sadh is also good, although he is capable of so much more. His boyish charms do the needful for him most of the times, and he uses those to his complete advantage. Vijay Varma has his defining moments and he makes sure you remember him for this role. He is more of a supporting actor who lends a strong helping hand to not only the other characters but also the narrative. Similar is Kenny Basumatary. He is cute and likeable. He is also very much integral to the story. There is a part in the film where he makes you miss him extremely badly.
Shruti Haasan although is for the support to the male lead, she with her performance only rises above that. You feel there is depth in the film only because of her. She is logical and a person who you would relate to, probably the most. Ankur Vikal is decent and does the needful.
Music by Siddharth Pandit, Ankit Tiwari, and Gourav/Roshin & Shaan may not be very memorable but does supremely well for the film. Whenever the songs appear, they feel so needed. They bind the narrative and also help take the film forward. Since they are melodious too, you like their presence in the background. The score by Clinton Cerejo is dramatic and full of enthusiasm, just what the film demanded.
Camera by Rishi Punjabi does an exceptional job, creating a canvas that is not only colourful but meaningful to the characters and their journey. The lights and colours do a fantastic job of creating the time of 50s upto the period of 90s. Production design by Shwetab Verma works so rightly in sync with the camera that you feel that even one note here and there would have ruined the film. A shout out to Samant Chauhan and Shabi Sharma from costume department too for making everything look so believable.
Editing by Geeta Singh is interesting, majorly for the back and forth structure. Also, the transitions come at correct times. The breathers feel like they were needed and the dramatic moments are also accentuated well by placing them rightly within the frame. There is never too much of the past or too much of the present in one go. The suspense is maintained.
This is a film that not all will like. The cinema enthusiasts who are fond of this genre will love this thoroughly. For others, this may well be just another film in the OTT domain that they can just flip through. Engaging. Check. Entertaining. Check. Dramatic. Check. Substantial. Check. Good enough reasons why this one should be watched.