‘India’s Most Wanted’ Review: Arjun Kapoor’s film is more drab than deadly!
Film: India’s Most Wanted (Action, Thriller), Critic’s Rating: 3/5, Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma, Direction: Rajkumar Gupta, Written by: Rajkumar Gupta, Duration: 2 hours, 03 minutes, Language: Hindi (U/A)
This is a cinematic tribute to our unsung heroes. A decade ago, when India was rocked by a series of deadly bomb blasts, suspected to be carried out by Yasin Bhatkal (who also used the name Shah Rukh Khan as one of his many aliases), a brave officer, Prashant Kapoor (Arjun Kapoor) along with a motley five-member-team took it upon themselves to capture the dreaded terrorist. Posing as tourists they drove to Nepal and captured India’s Osama Bin Laden alive.
This is an important film because it tells the story of how vulnerable we, as a nation, were a decade ago. How a series of bomb blasts across various Indian cities, conducted by a man with radical leanings left thousands killed and maimed. When this tale of terror is recounted on screen starting with the Pune blast, you feel scared.
So far, so good. Then the film goes to the Delhi bureaucracy — their apathy, inaction and petty politics, which is informative as much as it is disturbing. But the script lacks a punch. Naturally, at this stage, the hero is introduced. He is the intelligence officer with a chhattees-inch ka seena (36-inch chest — Arjun’s chest could have larger dimensions, so don’t take it literally), whose gut nets better results than RAW. So, he decides to stick his neck out for a covert mission. He gathers his team of five and though permission from the top is denied, he crosses over to Nepal with the blessings of his immediate superior and Vande Mataram echoing in his heart.
Here, the narrative dips further. Instead of instilling fear, the several terror tales that are continuously reported sound repetitive; almost boring. Arjun is constantly telling his team, “This is a covert mission, so behave normally. Please pretend.” And these instructions sound stupid. Aren’t these men (covert or otherwise) intelligence officers? Then why such blah instructions 10-times over? Who are they talking to? Themselves or the audience, who they assume are idiots. Please, you cannot make a film about intelligence and do unintelligent things!
Also, over a course of four days, the team touches base with their ‘informer’ (some terrible actor) and goes about seeking the terrorist, who is holed up in a house in Pokhara. But it never once feels like a real operation is in place. The ISI flies down; Nepal security is activated. Ground-level combing operations are started, but none of this translates into anything. There is neither thrill nor fear. It plays out so placidly.
In the acting department, Arjun’s expressions convey nothing. From time to time, he makes a phone call saying, “Desh ke liye, jaan de bhi sakte hain aur le bhi sakte hain.” Really? Is patriotism announced like this?
Also, the real mission of capturing this ‘dreaded’ terrorist falls flat on its face because the climax is so tepid. Firstly, the terrorist is presented like a mythological actor in a weird wig and a terrible beard. Secondly, the way Arjun ‘captures’ him lacks any heroism. Honestly, you don’t need a gun in your hand to convey strength.
The bits that are truly interesting are the two mentions of when apna Bollywood Badshah, Shah Rukh Khan, was held back at US immigration because India’s Osama was using his name as one of his many aliases.
PS: SRK gave the makers his official nod to revisit this.
If you’re in the mood for a documentary-styled ‘real’ film, you may find something to take back from here. Having said that, in this case, the intention can be lauded, but definitely not the execution.