Truth diluted by a horrifyingly illogical explanation is no truth at all, and while Baabarr, with its messiah-like assurance about the immortality of crime, might be venturing into realistic locales, it fails to add body to its bravado, thanks to an inchoate and anemic treatment.
Special effects wizard Ashu Trikha's latest attempt to hit on the perfect formula plunges everybody into darkness. After the sci-fi Alag
that succeeded in stirring at best a mixed response in its audiences' hearts, his recent hopeful Baabarr experiments with film noir and tries to find a target audience in the crooked bylanes of small towns, where criminals are produced like loose change.
However, the film is filled with pointless gore and violence to the extent that it seems like a couple of gorillas escaped from a zoo, discovered guns along the way and then headed straight to Ashu Trikha's set to sign up as action directors. And yet, the goriest things about Baabarr are the simplistic explanations it offers to events, situations and characters. We're talking about a cold-bloodedness of imagination here. We're also talking about an absolute inadequacy of background research.
A movie laden with prejudice, when Baabarr is not using the most redundant cliches in the book, it is making hateful statements against every second community. So strong are the prejudices and the preconceived notions that after a point, the protagonist Baabarr actually starts looking like Narendra Modi with a beard and a wig of curly hair.
Trikha's film is set in Lucknow, in a little pocket of crime called Amangunj, a slum area where crime breeds, weapons lie around, little boys play with real guns and so on. Baabarr and his elder brothers are a decent family of butchers for the most time, but indulge in part-time criminal activity for some extra bucks or to settle neighbourly disputes.
There is no love lost between the brothers, however, and they are a pretty united gang. While the oldest (Shakti Kapoor) kills a violent neighbor to save his brother's life and thus ends up being a warlord for life, the youngest, Baabarr, too, kills his first at some pre-pubescent age, and is immutably inducted into bhai-giri. A legend is born. And here we go again.
The film drags on. Baabarr and friends. Baabarr and girlfriend. Baabarr and policemen. Baabarr and arch enemy. Baabarr and victims. Baabarr and bhais. Baabarr and policemen. Baabarr and victims. Baabarr and mistress. Baabarr and bhais. Baabarr and wife. Baabar and child. Baabarr and policemen. Dead Baabarr.
Right until the point that the hunter is himself hunted down, Trikha gives us only a rather sketchy account of his life, which only ups the goriness quotient. There is no story, just a random weaving together of incidents, and this leaves several loose ends. We are given an insight into his family life and the close bond he shared with his brothers. Awww.
Shakti Kapoor is commendable in a performance-oriented role, though. Urvashi Sharma as the wonder woman herself, loves and gives in vain, and leaves only with vengeance fulfilled. She also does an interesting item number to help our anti-hero get by and do his job better. What women won't do to make their heroes superheroes. Anyhow, Sharma shows commendable potential as an actress, and dances fairly well, too.
The other leading lady, Kashish, plays wife to Baabarr and mother to his child. While she herself is undoubtedly a good actress, Baabarr works out to be the most unpromising debut vehicle for her - and for her co-star Soham Shah. As main protagonist, Shah is fairly intense and has commendable dialogue delivery, but somehow just fails to make the mark. The film also has a stellar ensemble cast consisting Mithun Chakraborty, Om Puri, Sushant Singh and several other box-office draws. And while we cannot argue that Ashu Trikha has got a fine team of technicians for Baabarr, we wish his scripts didn't sound like hatemail from fellow scriptwriters.
The dialogues in the film are a riot. They sound ridiculously verbose and archaic, what with up to 3-4 metaphors in a 10-second dialogue. The music is about average, having been composed by Anand Raaj Anand, also credited with the lyrics.
Give Baabarr a miss. It's easy - you just have to do it once, and after that you'll know how to do it.