Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hours 00 minutes Censor Rating : U/A

Production: Red Chillies Entertainment Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Singh, Taapsee Pannu Direction: Sujoy Ghosh Music: Amaal Mallik, Anupam Roy, Clinton Cerejo Cinematography: Aveek Mukhopadhyay

Sujoy Ghosh's Badla is a remake of the Spanish thriller - The Invisible Guest. Usually, a whodunit thriller will have a sequence of events happening, and as the protagonist goes about unraveling the mystery behind it, we also try to solve the case in our minds. Badla also makes you do it, but halfway through the film, there is a high chance that you've predicted who the killer is.

Badla follows the story of Naina, a 'Businessperson of the Year' awardee (read strong headed, bold, ambitious, and powerful). She is accused of murdering her extramarital lover Arjun (played by Tony Luke), and Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) is hired to take up her case and defend it. He gives her 3 hours to tell him the truth, but each narration of hers is filled with logical loopholes.

The film is very focused, and most of the film takes place inside Naina's (Taapsee) flat, and the compact nature of the setting increases the suspense in the plot, similar to 12 Angry Men, where the whole film is set inside a room. The dialogues have Easter-egg-like quality to it, even seemingly throwaway lines have a reason to be in the film. For example, Amitabh Bachchan makes a brilliant reference to Mahabharatha, which seems out of place, but towards the end, it all comes together.

The best part about the film is that Badal Gupta stands in the shoes of the audience, questioning the logic in each of Naina's narration, following which she comes up with an explanation to fill the loopholes. While the film starts a few steps ahead of us, somewhere near the end of the first half, we catch up with the proceedings and are able to predict who the killer is. This is because the number of characters is minimal, and as the film progresses, the loose threads get cut down, leaving us with lack of suspects. As a result, the major reveal at the end becomes almost blunt.

Despite these issues, the film keeps us invested in it because of the wide range of emotions at play - There is a family searching for their lost son, a stranger is found dead, Naina is afraid of her family knowing about the extramarital relationship, and Badal Gupta is not convinced that Naina is saying the truth. All these dynamics affect the incidents she narrates to Badal, making the film more engrossing.

Avik Chakraborty's cinematography adds to the essence of the film, and the way he has captured the snow-capped regions of Glasgow in Scotland is a delight to watch. His choice of colours to distinguish between the portions inside Naina's apartment and the scenes in Glasgow deserves praise. In addition to this, the performances of the cast lift the film several notches higher than what it should actually have been. In particular, Amrita Singh as Rani steals the thunder whenever she appears on the screen. For instance, in a scene close to the interval block, she coldly stares at Naina without any expression. That sequence, complemented by Clinton Cerejo's background score sends chills down your spine.

Long story short, Badla makes you feel like a first bench student in a Mathematics class, waiting for the teacher to solve a problem, just to check if your answer is right.

Verdict: If you fail to predict, Badla is an engrossing and gripping whodunit film that keeps you engaged.


3 5 ( 3.0 / 5.0 )





Badla (aka) Badhla

Badla (aka) Badhla is a Hindi movie. Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Singh, Taapsee Pannu are part of the cast of Badla (aka) Badhla. The movie is directed by Sujoy Ghosh. Music is by Amaal Mallik, Anupam Roy, Clinton Cerejo. Production by Red Chillies Entertainment, cinematography by Aveek Mukhopadhyay.