My Movie Review
Bachchan in a thriller with Taapsee as his co star…definitely worth a watch, I thought. Their chemistry from Pink in mind, I went in with high expectations. And while Amitabh and Tapsee didn’t really disappoint, the film didn’t quite cut it.
Badla, as the name clearly suggests, is about revenge. And considering that it’s a crime thriller, it would be criminal of me to reveal too much and take away from the experience, should you choose to watch the film.
So keeping as far away from talking about the content as possible, let me take a shot at telling you what I think.
Suffice to say that the film is about a successful businesswoman (Taapsee) who is suspected of murdering her boyfriend and hires a hotshot lawyer (Bachchan) to defend her.
Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the film hasn’t quite been able to live upto the standard he created with Kahaani, in the same genre.  The film is based on a Spanish film, The Invisible Guest, and somehow is unable to rise out of its European original and create its own identity.
In a style that was a bit of a throwback on older European thrillers, the film felt pedantic. The first half felt quite tedious and long. The cinematographic treatment also felt a bit unidimensional and tired.  By interval time, one was grateful for a samosa break to distract from the frustrating build up which felt too long to get there.
And, speaking just for myself and not for others who watched the film with me…I got a sneaky feeling about the reality of one of the characters and that is never really good in a thriller, is it? Because half the fun of the reveal is over that way.
But the second half redeemed the film. It picked up pace and the twists and turns began to reveal themselves quite nicely. During this half, Taapsee as Naina Sethi, also came into her own and showed us why she can be pitted against a veteran like Amitabh Bachchan.
Bachchan himself swims through with his usual elan but it just feels like he hasn’t been challenged enough to do more in his role as the lawyer. Also, whoever did his make up needs to do a better job as he looks a bit too flushed and red cheeked. The treatment of his character seems like a missed opportunity as this could have been a chance to present him in a different style, considering there is nothing else but one long interview which he conducts through the film. Some interesting mannerisms and different look would have brought a freshness to the character. Instead of which we feel we are just watching Bachchan instead of a character called Badal Gupta.
On the other hand, Amrita Singh, who is another central character proves herself to be a really versatile actor and fits into the spirit of her role really well.
Tony Luke as Naina’s boyfriend does a convincing job, as does Tanvir Ghani as Amrita’s husband who manages to bring an interesting note to the proceedings through his rather distinctive look. The interplay between Amrita and Tanvir is one of the more interesting parts of the film.
The setting of the story being in Europe seems to be out of the comfort zone of the director who uses the backdrops as a set rather than it becoming integral in the film (once again comparing it to his comfort with Kolkata in Kahaani where the city becomes a character in itself). In fact the visual effects of the hotel scenes feel just too Agatha Christie-ish and don’t work in the current times in which the film is set. And there was also this heavy deja vu of the Grand Budapest Hotel.
The music is unremarkable and doesn’t add atmosphere to the film and that’s another missed opportunity as the right music can become an actual character in a thriller.
The best part of the film, though, is it’s last 30 odd minutes where it suddenly quickens and the edge of the seat feeling begins to happen.
The film is well edited and that’s one of its good points, especially to bring pace and edge to a crime thriller.
So for that last 30 minutes and some final moments of being brought to the edge, it’s a  generous 3 stars from me for Badla.
I wouldn’t worry about going into a theatre for this one. Watching it on TV in the comfort of home some weeks later will do quite nicely.