Naam Shabana, Anyone?

Tossing a coin to decide on what movie to catch over the weekend? Let me help you rule out the obvious. You can easily knock Naam Shabana off your list if you are looking for an intriguing script, a great plot, some serious action sequences and awesome performances (which by the way have been synonymous with Neeraj Pandey movies). However, if you are bored watching the Kapil Sharma Show week after week, have no budget to go watch a stand up, are desperately missing lousy action movies from the 90s or just need a cozy corner to lounge packed with some random entertainment stealing the occasional gaze off your Android, Naam Shabana is your best bet.

The title is good. Reminds you of Bond, James Bond aka Shabana, Naam Shabana. And that’s about it. The star cast beckons you to make your way to the theatre with great expectations. But as the movie unfolds, scene after scene, you realize the value of crucial elements gone amiss.

Mistake No.1, there is no story. It’s as predictable as an open and shut case. If you survive the first half an hour and allow the story to build up, you decide to munch on even more popcorn just because you hope there are going to be finer moments in a Neeraj Pandey movie; and that the flat script is planned after all. And so, after each phone call that Bajpayee uncle makes, you force yourself into believing he may end up being the con man in the name of national security. Or you wait for some turn of events where Akshay Kumar would dive in as the real Hero and the savior of the movie.

But to your dire disappointment, he exposes himself in a bath tub with some Middle-Eastern woman. The look on his face oscillates between being sedated and seduced, rendering the scene neither steamy nor sensuous. The reason for the woman to try and please him in 60’s style is unclear.

So, Mistake No.2, you waste a great actor who could be your best bet at playing the womanizer, cracking people up and fighting villains. You end up getting him to play the Project Manager instead. Leave that to the IT guys, won’t you?

Taapsee is the forced Hero of the movie. Women’s Day is over guys; give us a break. From Scene1, you see her continuing to wear the exact same expression she wore in Pink (the brave one that is). She has mastered them. Anger, love and sanity look the same on her rather made to look dispassionate face. In the movie, she trains to become an agent with a higher purpose, one of Deshbhakti, as a trade off for a personal revenge; albeit without questioning or cross checking who her bosses are.

There we go again, Mistake No.3 – there is no logic through the course of the movie. And her action sequences lack the attitude that one can easily find in Priyanka Chopra’s Mary Kom or Ritika Singh’s Saala Khadoos. Simply put, the girl fails to convince.

And last but not the least, other agents on her team seem physically unfit to perform the task at hand. They would rather make Mishraji and Guptaji sitting across some Mithai counters in the Western suburbs of Mumbai. And Mr.Kher, Shuklaji, probably never had to rehearse any lines. He comes across like a cut and paste from Baby.

The villain seems related to Michael Jackson. I haven’t heard of any other man alive who loves getting under the knife for a change of identity or the lack of it. And I am glad he dies before going through any more pain to change his face to a more handsome version. Oops, did I spill the beans here…

So overall, we died laughing because of the obvious flaws and accepted it as a comedy of errors. And if you still don’t believe me, go watch the movie!! Better still, gift a pair of tickets to someone you don’t love. Nasty, isn’t it?

P.S. If you are still banking on a 3.5 rating by TOI, you are only donating for the wrong cause.

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