'Batla House' Movie review: The movie has an excellent premise but turns out to be underwhelming.
Last Modified On: 16 August 2019 | Reviewed By: Saurabh S Nair
The screenplay is poorly written which doesn't have an emotional connect which creates an urge of getting more from the film.
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Cast: John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur, Rajesh Sharma, Manish Chaudhury, Ravi Kishan, Nora Fatehi
Director: Nikhil Advani
John Abraham starrer Batla House has an excellent premise which is based on a real-life incident. The film is based on the true incident happened in 2008 in Delhi where a shootout took place in 2008, which was the encounters of alleged Indian Mujahideen terrorists in the Batla House locality of the national capital. Two suspected terrorists were reportedly gunned down in the September 2008 shootout, two others were arrested while one accused escaped.
The movie opens on September 19, 2008. The ACP's marriage to TV anchor Nandita (Mrunal Thakur) is on the rocks. It is also the day when his sleuths, hot on the trail of the IM bombers, stumbles on a terror cell in the eponymous house in the national capital. Two IM terrorists are killed in the exchange of fire in which a key special cell officer KK (Ravi Kishan) is killed and ACP Kumar left to face the music.
As the probe into the encounter gets underway, political sharks smell blood and start circling the troubled waters. ACP Sanjeev Kumar (John Abraham) Kumar is hobbled by 'I see dead people' post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He has to save his marriage, solve the case, deliver a spiel against Islamist radicalization and outwit wily defense attorney Rajesh Sharma (in a hideous barrister’s wig) in the courtroom showdown.
The film could have pulled this interesting premise with a brilliant screenplay but it so underwhelming and the characters their characterization is poorly written that you want to root for the film but it disappoints.
Director Nikkhil Advani's return to the gangster-terrorist thriller genre after his 2013 D-Day, starts on a promising note but then tires itself out by meandering across the countryside. Not in the least bit because it features an item number. Because there's always room for an item song in a terrorist chase.
Sanjeev’s wife, a television news anchor played by Mrunal Thakur, is a key figure in the story. But the film barely does any justice to her character, giving little room to the talented actress to breathe life into it. The last act is gripping, not least because the script plays to the gallery with rousing monologues and clap-trap lines.
Also Read: Batla House: An Unexpected hit
In the climactic courtroom scene, Sanjay gives a rousing speech and Rajesh Sharma as the defense lawyer hams to glory. He presents the students’ point of view. But make no mistake, Batla House isn’t a Rashomon-like investigation of many truths.
There is much to admire in Batla House but the film is ultimately betrayed by its own prejudices. In one scene Sanjeev wakes up from a nightmare in which he’s mobbed by men wearing skull caps. The film wants to be viewed as a complex search for answers, a nuanced, layered drama about an incident from the past whose central conflict is as relevant today. That sounds good on paper. In practice, though the film is lacking in any complexity or nuance.