Aiyaary | Film Review

Neeraj Pandey has given us some of the best 'edge of the seat' thrillers in recent times. Films like A Wednesday and Special 26 happen to be some of my all time favourites. And, when a film maker of his calibre brings together a fresh mentor - protégé pair in the form of Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra - two artists who have created a niche of their own (add to that, a massive fan following), one cannot help but get a little excited to watch the drama unfold on the big screen!

The film is an out and out thriller, where one dot connects to the other in true 'Neeraj Pandey' style. So much, that one cannot even afford to take a restroom break! If you end up missing the opening scene or make a fashionably late entry, be prepared to scratch your head till you can find the missing gaps and get back on track. Col Abhay Singh (Bajpayee) and Major Jai Bakshi (Malhotra) are part of a special Military unit. While the latter goes rogue after coming across explosive details related to an arms deal, the former takes it upon himself to find Bakshi and understand the reason as to why he picked the wrong path. One thing leads to another, the mentor - protégé face a fallout and thus, the cat-and-mouse chase begins (across Delhi, London, Kashmir among other key locations, where the film has been shot).

Apart from the lead protagonists, other principal characters who have performed well include Vikram Gokhale as the Army General, Kumud Mishra as an ex-Army Man, Adil Hussain as an arms dealer among others. Naseeruddin Shah's cameo as Baburao Shastri is good. There is also Sonia Gupta (Rakul Preet Singh) who plays a hacker, and Bakshi's love interest, and Pooja Chopra as a unit member. Sadly, the female characters in this film had very little to do and their performances were strictly okay. The film primarily focuses on the lead duo's journey, with characters from the ensemble cast intelligently interspersed in the narrative.

Aiyaar is an individual who disguises himself skilfully, leaving those around him completely baffled and surprised. Someone with magical, wizard like powers. In this film, there is a scene where Singh (Bajpayee) is referred to as an Aiyaar. Needless to say, Bajpayee's act will make you believe that there is nothing he can't do. Like a chameleon, he can transform into anything and leave you impressed. His powerful performance is a clear winner and it won't be wrong to say - the industry is blessed to have artists like Bajpayee. Another highlight is Malhotra's impeccable portrayal of the soldier gone rogue - Major Jai Bakshi. It is a treat to watch him play the forthright and smart Bakshi with such great ease. With every film, Malhotra has proved his mettle as an actor, adding a lot of effort and value to every character that he has portrayed on screen. And, this film is no different. Both Bajpayee and Malhotra's performance is the heart and soul of this film.

Sanjoy Chowdury's background score is fabulous and adds great value to the overall presentation. Rochak Kohli's music is interesting, though the film retains only one song. The dialogues are well penned, with some memorable lines that create an impact. While most of Pandey's favourite artists make a comeback, it is Bajpayee and Malhotra's fresh equation that leaves a mark. Their confrontation scenes are brilliant, with both actors staying true to their characters with the perfect personality, attitude and fine dialogue delivery. All this, without going too OTT!

While the film does well in some important departments, there some low points that stops Aiyaary from soaring higher than the sky. The film has a weak screenplay, which doesn't do much for the plot. Add to that - sloppy editing, especially in the second half. While the film has a good pace, it could have been a bit more crisp. Having said that, the performances and other key elements like BG score, dialogues hold fort and save the film from sinking completely. Plus, the film has a strong message that needs to be taken seriously, especially for the sake of current (read: us) and future generations.

With an important takeaway and some stellar acts, Aiyaary is an intelligent whodunnit! Fans of this genre will definitely enjoy the film. And of course, fans of Bajpayee and Malhotra - you guys are in for a well deserved treat.

Verdict: Do watch the film for Bajpayee and Malhotra's remarkable performances!

The Dancebee

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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