Director: Neeraj Pandey
Production Houses: Plan C, Friday Filmworks and Jayantilal Gada (Pen)
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary kicks off by making us aware about the fact that the smartest agent of a coveted secret military agency, Major Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) has gone rogue, because a particular practice does not fit his ideals or his way of thinking and hence partners up with a supposed government traitor in order to expose those certain practices. In order to seek some form of justice, he puts the faith that Indians have in its Army at risk. When the situation gets tense and one man begins turning things upside down, who’s better than the master to get hold of the student? Enter lieutenant Abhay Singh (Bajpayee), the mentor to Malhotra’s character the leader of that coveted group who, although has been officially cut loose from all official help and orders, is still going after the guy who has been supposedly bribed into for the pride of the nation.
Here, it becomes evident that two points of views are at war with each other. One is the hard-learned, old-school military ideal of being of service to the nation at any cost, while the other point of view is that no amount of respect is coming their way as there’s no relevance of the organisation to the government, also, service to the nation doesn’t necessarily pay bills all the time! Well, many will easily relate to that. Hence, begins the cat-and-mouse chase.
Bajpayee is a seasoned actor and does bring in nuances which humanize him, even though his character of a special ops leader might have adviced against that. That is indeed the mark of a truly great actor. Sidharth Malhotra’s ability to shift from the prodigal military son to a boy next door (especially in his tender moments with Sonia, played by Rakul Preet Singh) is indeed commendable. Admittedly, his relative lack of nuances in A Gentleman did put us off, but Neeraj Pandey can be seen capitalizing entirely on that trait of the man. On top of that, he can be seen as someone who has honed his overall craft significantly from the last film. Kudos for that!
Special mention goes to Rakul Preet Singh and Pooja Chopra, who look and give the vibe of their respective parts and are evidently seen making the best of their material. Here’s to more of them!
While you get to the second half of this presentation, it is evident that the cat and mouse chase continues, which leads up to an ex-army major turned arms dealer, which is played by the fantabulous Adil Hussain. There is indeed something about the man that gives you a tinge of the menace that his character is capable of without really doing much. It again takes an actor of his prowess to pull that off.
But, what was more interesting was the grand showdown, which was symbolic of opposing opinions and societal views, but then comes the final showdown after that, which was orchestrated by none other than Naseeruddin Shah. Then, soon, we are taken to the whole point of this story in the typical Neeraj Pandey manner. Here, we get to see a confrontation with a dreaded societal practice that one is aware of but often ignores on a daily basis. It’s never really is about interpersonal differences and generational gaps, but what it is about is the enemy who we often fear to go up against.
And of course, NO Neeraj Pandey film review is complete without mentioning the thrilling background score. It’s only a master director such as Pandey who can really build tension with the artful use of chase and operational music. Take a bow, Mr. Pandey!
In the end, we are given a hint that the story of Jai Bakshi and Abhay Singh (Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee) isn’t over it and there is a long road to cover.
Watch this film if you’re in the mood for a nail-biting and beautifully crafted story which will be told in the patented Neeraj Pandey style.