Baadshaho star cast: Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Ileana D’Cruz, Esha Gupta, Sanjay Mishra, Vidyut Jammwal
Baadshaho director: Milan Luthria
Baadshaho rating: 2 stars
Don’t get fooled by the ‘set during the backdrop of the Emergency’ thread in Baadshaho. That and few other elements are just window dressing in Milan Luthria’s cops-and-robbers tale, which plays out in one his favourite locations: Rajasthan.
The target is hidden treasure, comprising mounds of glittering gold and other precious jewels. Eyeing it is a Sanjay Gandhi lookalike called Sanjeev (which is why the mention of the Emergency), a beautiful Rani named Geetanjali (D’Cruz), a crafty bunch which goes by such colourful monikers as Bhawani, Dalia, Tikla (Devgn, Hashmi and Mishra, respectively) and sundry policemen.
Because it’s the old masala entertainment genre, we sit back and enjoy a few familiar guilty pleasures — the item song (Sunny Leone shaking it), the ‘seeti-maar’ dialogues (the deep-seated misogyny in a few make you cringe, even as you hear, without a shred of surprise, bunches of young men guffawing), the cheerful absence of logic (what’s that), and coherent plot points.
You can see the twists coming a mile off. But that’s also part of the masala-movie experience, this knowing what’s going to come up next. The surprise comes from how the audience reacts to Sanjay Mishra, who plays a wizened safe-cracker: he has some of the best lines in the film, and gets the maximum applause, even more than Devgn who gets the mandatory hoots-and-whistles at the ‘hero’s entry’, as well as Hashmi, who is back in his familiar skirt-chasing loutish avatar.
The women are decorative. D’Cruz is togged out in regal chiffons, one of which remain spotless through the long proceedings. Her make-up stays intact too. Gupta’s role (she hangs out with the three ‘khazana chors’) seems to have been created simply to include a second pretty face. But we don’t blink, because we know these are all masala movie imperatives.
Only it’s 2017 not the 70s, and whatever you might do – add some spit-and-polish and intrigue and new faces, and create funny dialogues – the film comes off as old wine, in a not very new bottle, which we have to sip for over 2.5 hours.
At some point, a character asks another, ‘chor police mein mazaa aa raha hai kya’? And even while you say: ‘thoda thoda’, you ask yourself; ‘aur kab tak?’