Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Taher Shabbir
Director: Shivam Nair
What’s Good: Naam Shabana packs a punch with its action! Taapsee does a fabulous job at handling emotion as well as action.
What’s Bad: A weak script pulls this film down. It’s not as engaging as Baby.
Loo Break: Probably during the songs.
Watch or Not?: Naam Shabana fails to become the action entertainer that you can’t miss. It’s more of a ‘ohh okay’ watch than ‘you gotta watch it!’.
Two Indian agents get killed in Austria by an arms and trafficking kingpin Mikhail. In the meanwhile, in India, Shabana (Taapsee) is a college student and a Kudo player. While on a date with her lover Jay (Taher Shabbir), Shabana undergoes an eve-teasing incident that ends up in the death of Jay by the eve-teasers. Shabana is hot headed, has a deadly past and now with the death of her innocent boyfriend is even more wounded.
At this opportune moment, an Indian agency of secret agents contacts her, offering help in nabbing Jay’s killers in exchange of her service to the country. Not having faith in the legal system, Shabana gives a nod to them.
Succeeding at her first task in eliminating Jay’s killers, she is soon sent out for another mission involving Tony (Prithviraj Sukumaran). Working with the best, Ajay (Akshay Kumar) and Shukla (Anupam Kher), will she succeed in wiping out Tony?
Naam Shabana Review: Script Analysis
Neeraj Pandey’s Naam Shabana has an extremely weak screenplay. It is a remotely engaging plot and Pandey tries it least to enthuse with any dramatic dialogues.
We miss the grit that Baby had laid in front of us. The film takes off very slow with Shabana’s background being introduced to us. Everything till her recruitment in the agency is slightly boring. Also, it seems only unlikely as to why a top agent like Ranveer (Manoj Bajpayee) himself has to keep an eye on Shabana.
Even with a heroic character like Ajay’s entry into the film, the story does not pick up much.
Everything about Naam Shabana seems forced in terms of making a ‘hero’ out of the girl. Oddly, in one of the scenes where Shabana finally steps into the agency headquarters, we don’t see a single lady, not even as a desk employee. Since Shabana’s story takes off on a personal note, there’s no patriotic angle to the story unlike its prequel which boasted of dialogues like ‘Religion ke category mein main capital letters mein Indian likhta hoon.’
One of the interesting dialogues in the film is where, Shabana asks Ranveer if her religion did play a key role in her recruitment. Also, Ranveer’s amazing comeback on her revelation of pursuing sports as a profession to make Indian proud is clever.
But for most part of the film, you really miss Pandey’s witty writing that his previous films, A Wednesday and Special 26 were laden with.
Shabana’s story is a half-hearted, forced attempt.
Naam Shabana Review: Star Performance
Taapsee Pannu impressed the hell out of us in Pink. After her famed fight sequence in Baby, we see her take up the lead role in the sequel Naam Shabana and she does promise us a good time with her act in spite of a failing script. She excels in the action sequences and handles the scenes of emotional breakdown equally well. Taapsee is here to stay!
Manoj Bajpayee as Ranveer seems limited in his underdeveloped character. Despite of his towering talent, the script never lets him to make an impression.
Prithviraj Sukumaran is the lead antagonist and there’s hardly anything good to say here. He surely looks hot as the bad guy sporting a diamond stud but his role is just not meaty enough.
Akshay Kumar’s extended cameo entry is expected to get whistles in theaters. Yet, one has to agree him randomly popping up in scene is a clear indication how his character was pushed into this film. Also, with Anupam Kher returning as Shuklaji, it’s the Akshay-Kher camaraderie that works its magic again.
Naam Shabana Review: Direction, Music
The biggest setback here is probably that Neeraj Pandey is not the director. His story-telling is missed and probably, Shivam Nair fails to get on the wagon of Pandey style direction.
One of the biggest hindrance in this film is its songs. While you feel, the romantic track, Rozanna may be the only one you need to sit through, there are others too, which seem ill timed in terms of where the story is headed.
Nair’s last film Bhaag Johnny had ample of problems, including suffering from a terrible script. In this case, Nair has a decent script but he doesn’t succeed in making gold out of it.
After a slightly slow first half, the second half tries to pace up and keep you on the edge but its a little attempt considering we have figured out the climax.
Certain long shots are captured well, also the scene where Shabana is asked to kill a man in the middle of a crowded Mumbai street is intriguing. Also, Shabana’s action sequence whilst slashing Jay’s killer has been choreographed extremely well.
Naam Shabana Review: The Last Word
Naam Shabana falls short of becoming a la Baby. A tepid script makes this film a strictly a average watch. Yet, for Taapsee’s effortless act a 2.5/5 for this!
Naam Shabana Trailer
Naam Shabana releases on 31 March, 2017.
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