Director: Neeraj Pandey
Starring: Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet Singh, Anupam Kher, Sidharth Malhotra, Naseeruddin Shah
Runtime: 2h 37min
Set in multiple locations – Delhi, London, Cairo – Aiyaary is the story about Major Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) going rogue. Post infinite minutes of starting credits, Neeraj decides to start the story by portraying a current day situation and then taking it to the flashback. For many, the confusion will start from the first frame but you need to sit tight till the last frame to clear every question. Jai’s mentor Colonel Abhay Singh takes these missions of finding why his bright apprentice has taken the wrong way out.
10 minutes into the movie, both Jai & Abhay are being labelled as traitors to the army. Jai’s girlfriend Sonia (Rakul Preet Singh) comes on the scene as an unnecessary addition to the film. As the movie proceeds, the director decides to drop down the curtain from every mysterious element he tries to hold on for too long. Tariq Ali (Anupam Kher) and Baaburao Shastri (Naseeruddin Shah) have been kept as the most special tricks of this magician Pandey but are they worthy enough? Watch the movie to clear your doubts.
What started with A Wednesday just went up with movies like Special 26 and Baby, where this man will stop was the question & Aiyaary is the answer. Neeraj steps out of his usual mould of storytelling and tries to level up his own game. But somewhere down the line, he leaves the dots disjointed at places which will be the biggest loophole of the film.
Directing a story of an army officer going rogue & introducing many layers throughout the script is what Pandey tries. From showing operations of a special covert unit to hinting at the corruption in the system, Pandey has gone all out with the script of this film. He succeeds at many places & fails at many. A not-needed love track has always been a special flaw Pandey is finding hard to get rid of. If he’s reading this, a special message from me & multiple people I’ve had a chat with about this topic – “Sir, please skip the love tracks from your thrillers”.
Manoj Bajpayee steals the show yet again with his legendary presence. He’s witty with his comic timing and equally serious in scenes which require a subtle essence. He gets the maximum screen presence for which he is totally deserves.
Sidharth Malhotra delivers what he has been offered on paper. He has tried really hard to match up the talent of Bajpayee & succeeds at many occasions. Liked him in Ittefaq & even in this one he’s good but unfortunately, he right now requires a big money-spinner to be in the game.
Naseeruddin Shah’s sweet little cameo is impactful though everyone will wish to have seen more of him. Rakul Preet Singh beautifully does what was demanded by her character. Pooja Chopra, too, serve her role with utmost honesty. Anupam Kher gets a hurriedly written role but still, he manages to leave a mark.
Neeraj Pandey comes in without his lucky charm, Akshay Kumar, this time. Can’t say Sidharth has replaced Akshay because the movie didn’t have anything for him. From silencing the dialogues in key scenes, talking about Kashmir issue & some lavishly shot scenes in London – Pandey has upped his game in the game of direction. Story and its execution staying the weak link here, Pandey still has to polish these tools before being called as father of this genre.
Retaining Sanjoy Chowdhury for background score is Pandey’s best decision for this film. Sanjoy, previously, has given music for his film’s like M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story and Naam Shabana (Pandey was a producer). The BGM is the most delightful takeaway from the film. There’s just one song – Lae Dooba which, unfortunately, disrupts the link. Thankfully, there’s no other song.
Definitely, must watch for all those who love this genre. Neeraj Pandey draws some dots in the first half just to join them in the second. Manoj Bajpayee & Sidharth Malhotra delivers exhilarating performances.