Badla Did Not Pour, It Sort Of Drizzled.
That a Hindi movie is based on a proper story is like a movie critic's wet dream. Also true to form, the story stretched to kingdom come... But Varun Dhawan is HAWT!
'Rejoice!' The critics are saying, 'Rejoice! There is a STORY in a Hindi film!'
'Chaa gaya yeh Nawauddin!' say people in the audience. 'How funny and wicked he is!' (You will hear people laugh and guffaw at Nawazuddin's antics in the theatre)
And I'm thinking, in Ugly, you felt the immediacy of the incidents, the sense of danger, you hated the characters, you wanted the missing kid to be found, you were aghast at the crassness and ugliness everywhere. Then why didn't I feel that the hawt lad Varun Dhawan could carry the flame of revenge, of hatred inside him for 15 years?
Why did I fail to laugh at the antics of Nawazuddin? Why did I imagine this was Shamitabh each time he ate up that footage preening in the mirror with shirts that tried just as hard as him? He stands in front of the mirror and shakes his head to fix his hair. Snip! Snip! Cut it out, man! Seriously, I used to be a fan of Amitabh Bachchan until he started selling the Rann Of Kutch and then I wanted to sell the damned Rann to anyone who'd save us from that voice. Nawazuddin and his preening was so often you hoped Bipasha Basu would come out of the mirror and bite his head off...
This movie had covered 15 years plus. I wanted to see the Badla.
Yet you heard people in the audience say, 'So twisted! So dark!'
You want to show them a picture of Steve Buscemi smiling and show them what twisted and dark could be.
Yes, Varun Dhawan proves that he broods beautifully. And sizzles while doing so. But why did his hawtness (love the way he looks when he crosses the street) make me reach for the Fast Forward button on the invisible remote control?
It seems like a spoiler to say this, but if one is going to stalk someone, shouldn't the victim be terrorized slowly and then the fear reach a crescendo? Gawd knows Radhika Apte has the saucer eyes made for fear. And Varun Dhawan's body language is so bang on, you don't want him to smile that knowing smile (the trailer shows how wonderfully scary/creepy he can be). But when Nawazuddin spouts his hundredth wisecrack, or shows how he was best student at acting school, you want the usher in the theater to throw his torch at the screen. Because you have seen plastic sheets in Dexter on TV, and barrels of money in Breaking Bad.
And you want to tell someone, 'Boss, this idea of about-to-retire cop taking bribes to fix his nest egg is older than Danny Glover and Mel Gibson's Lethal Weapon...
But Varun Dhawan is hawt! So it's okay to ogle at him in a hard hat staring at steel drums in the warehouse, play fooseball in that warehouse while drinking cutting chai with the cop (Ooh! How arty is that?!). He's so hawt, you don't wonder what his job really is, or what happened to his parents and hers, you don't wonder why the floor tiles of his Badlapur house are so new but the walls are distressed...
I loved Varun Dhawan's creepy bedroom scene with Radhika Apte (I cringed at his hand slamming the cupboard)
But then there was so little of this Badla. All we saw was Nawaazuddin watching TV, Nawazuddin washing clothes, bathing, sleeping, being vicious, preening, mocking, jeering, spouting lines here, being nasty there... And then, oh gawd, they make him saintly too.
Yes, my apologies to the lady sitting next to me, because I puked a little in her open bag after I saw that...
And yes, I would have happily clapped had Varun killed Nawazuddin's girl, his mom, his pet goat... But I am glad that he didn't because the director would have given us more of Nawazuddin: His grief, his tears, his funeral face, his mad laughter upon discovering the grisly revenge murder of his girl, his mum, his goat...
I know that Nawazuddin is a good actor, one of our best, but without restraint, the character just ended up being a caricature. I wanted to sandpaper the smirk off his face as he sandpapered the chair in the end...
And when you see the timeline of the movie, you just sprout grey hair, unlike Nawazuddin's mum (who doesn't age at all), or his girl (someone actually thought that when a girl cooks bhindi, she's older)... Oh! Sorry! The goat dies (sorry about the spoiler, but even I couldn't keep the animal alive for thaaaat long!).
The pace of the story is so inconsistent, I think I saw Varun Dhawan's beard grow.
You do want to see 'Jee Karda' on screen when the credits roll, but you can get that on the net these days or on cable. Might as well go home or Nawazuddin might come back on screen saying, 'Maine khoon nahi kiya!' and you'd be stuck for the next 15 years. Again...
I tried to like Badlapur. I really did. The whole movie was trying so hard to build an atmosphere, and every time I thought it was good, Ugly reared its head and said, 'I did it so much better. Naturally and easily!'
As junta is wont to say, 'Varun ka 'Badla' was great when it was creepy. Lekin Pur(a) fillum mein Nawazuddinich tha.'
Or 'Badla accha tha, lekin Pooooraa sade do ghante pakaya!'
P.S. I am not being mean to this movie. I'd rather you wait for the movie to show up on your TV, so you can do other things when Varun stirs his coffee slowly... But if you do see the movie in the theater, tell me if you found the shot of Varun walking with the hammer stuck in his jeans (on the butt) like a gun, totally funny...