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UNIMAGINATIVE &  INCOHERENT —  BAADSHAHO ( **½ stars)

When you have someone like Milan Luthria to helm the affairs, expectations are going to rise.

When you have the  intense and brooding  Ajay Devgn and the reinventing Emraan Hashmi as the leading  guys, you are raising the expectation further.

When you have the high on glamour ladies Ileana D’Cruz and Esha Gupta (who raised the temperatures with her recent instagram posts), you expect… you know what 🙂

When there is the seasoned and talented Rajat Arora at the story desk, You are basically making it one of the most awaited films of the year.

Whether the film lives up to the expectations would be soon anybody’s   guess.

But one fact  is established once again loud and clear — Bollywood relies too much on past laurels, and script is still the weakest link in movies here.

Story

The film is set in Rajasthan of 70s. Maharani  Gitanjali Devi (Ileana  D’Cruz) has lost her father  and the  onus of looking  after a huge population falls on her frail shoulders (apparently democracy hasn’t  still sunk in here). With falling reserves and the Indian government having taken away a major chunk of her erstwhile wealth, she is finding it difficult to run the affairs. And the double whammy of Emergency declared in the country acts as the final nail in the coffin. The government is hell bent in seizing her hidden treasure. That’s  found soon enough and she is jailed. There she plans  heist  with her security head Bhawani (Ajay Devgn) to seize back her treasure. Bhawani forms a team with Dalia (Emraan Hashmi) who is a petty thief aware of all nooks and corners of the state, Tikla aka Guruji (Sanjay Mishra) who is a master in opening locks of any kinds and size and Sanjana (Esha Gupta) who is Gitanjali’s  friend. That’s  her only claim to fame. Sanjana apparently holds no special skills apart from adding oodles of glamour quotient to the team. The biggest challenge to their heist plan is Army officer Major  Seher singh (Vidyut Jamwal) who is in charge of shifting the royal wealth from Rajasthan to Delhi. The story has enough twists and turns while taking us on the heist ride, unfolding the lives, relations and insecurities of all the main protagonists.

Direction

Unfortunately, the team of Milan and Rajat who have given us some terrific cinema in the past have come up with their weakest effort till date. There are enough lacunae in the screenplay to wonder if Baadshaho is really their product? There are many unanswered questions. Maharani had enough wealth for her perusal. Then why did she want to commit suicide citing herself  virtually pauper? Why did Maharani go  to the village tour at all? How come both the Maharani and Bhawani were kept  in  the same jail? Its impossible to believe that the Police officer of the city would have not known the credentials of Bhavani Singh. When Bhavani and Maharani had drifted apart, what brought  Bhavani back to the jail to help her? The police officer said he sighted a private plane landing in the area. Where was the plane? How come a private plane’s  whereabouts  could not have been known to the  top military officers and the establishment, particularly at the sensitive  Rajasthan border, that too during emergency?

The first half kicks off well, but pretty soon the film starts losing its steam. Even Sunny Leone’s item number fails to raise the tempo. The second half seems stretched, the torture in police station too – stretched and the climax never ending amateurish fight sequence shot in a looming desert storm.

The one – liners seem forced and fail to create the desired impact.

Acting

Ajay Devgn plays his part of intense, brooding lover and loyalist with panache. Emraan Hashmi is delectable. His accent is a joy. Sanjay Mishra is absolutely in the peak form. The story revolves around Ileana, and there is enough meat in her role, and she does reasonably well. Esha had nothing much to do and even her chemistry with Emraan seems forced. Those expecting firecrackers after having seen her instagram posts would be terribly disappointed. Vidyut is just fine, and fails to raise the bar.

Music

Tanishk Bagchi & Ankit Tiwari have given a couple of hit numbers through this film. ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ and ‘Socha Hai’ are doing well.

Fans looking for the recreation of magic from the team of Milan Luthria – Ajay Devgn – Emraan Hashmi may not find their expectations met. Other  may not miss much by giving it a miss.