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Monday, August 03, 2020

Yaara review: Tigmanshu Dhulia directorial works only sporadically

Yaara should have been a uniformly fast-paced ride, studded with interesting performances, but it works only sporadically.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | Updated: July 31, 2020 10:08:28 am
Yaara Yaara is streaming on ZEE5.

Yaara movie cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Amit Sadh, Vijay Varma, Shruti Haasan, Ankur Vakil, Kenny Basumatary, Mohammed Ali Shah, Sanjay Mishra
Yaara movie director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Yaara movie rating: Two stars

Friendship and betrayal is a long-running thread in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s films. Yaara, based on the 2011 French crime drama A Gang Story, gives us the story of four childhood pals and their journey through the murky world of gun-running, country liquor, and the shenanigans involved in buying and selling large tracts of land for profit. Given the director’s skills in this kind of set-up, Yaara, set in the 70s, should have been a uniformly fast-paced ride, studded with interesting performances, but it works only sporadically.

Part of the fun of watching Dhulia’s better movies is the way they put together a bunch of quirky characters, craggy locations and eye-popping intrigue. We see the foursome comprising the ‘chaukadi gang’, Phagun, Mitwa, Rizwan, Bahadur (Jammwal, Sadh, Varma, Basumatary respectively) hanging out, shooting the breeze when they are not shooting their way out of trouble, often dispensing with their shirts, so that their bare chests do the talking, and till they are in that initial stages of cementing their yaari-dosti, it’s all good.

Subsequently, the plot starts to meander, into dangerous Naxal territory, in which we see socially-conscious students of redbrick Delhi University colleges working off their privilege. This part of the film reminds you of that infinitely superior trek into the same terrain by Sudhir Mishra’s Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. That’s the cue for Sukanya (Haasan) to show up, as a sympathiser-cum-activist, the weakest link in the film. It leads to a bulbous middle, and a twist which leads the way to a muddled third act, where the friends, now middle-aged, beards-flecked-with-grey, meet up again, and the body count piles up.

The only way to work a testosterone-laden, bullet-riddled sprawling desi Western-cum-crime saga, is to keep it believable. I’m quite happy to watch young men, drunk on the power of can-do-anything youth, swagger about, especially if they aren’t the overused, jaded stars Bollywood works with. But there needs to be more that they, and us, are given to work with. Yaara needed both more clarity and heft, to deliver on the promise it set out with.

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