Naam Shabana Movie Review
Genre – Thriller
Director – Shivam Nair
Rating – 3.0
The movie begins three years before the events of Baby, setting the plot around 2011. Indian secret service suffers humiliation when they are unable to catch a dreaded arms dealer, Mikhail, who kills two of their agents. The action moves to Mumbai, where we find Shabana (Taapsee Pannu) a Commerce student who is also a Kudo champion. She is being tracked by this secret agency for some time without her knowledge. One fateful night, during a late night ride with her boyfriend, a group of hooligans accost them and her boyfriend is killed in the process. When Shabana doesn’t find justice for the murder in law, she receives a call from Ranveer (Manoj Bajpayee), one of the senior officers in the secret service. He helps her take revenge on the main killer, while inducting her in his team. Once her vendetta saga is over, she is trained to become a secret agent, and then given her first official mission and that involves assisting Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) to eliminate Mikhail.
The concept of having prequel is alien to Bollywood, and the makers need to be lauded for taking a risky path and offering something new to the audience. Baby was one of the most loved movies in 2015, and Taapsee’s track, even though it was a small one, was one of its best parts. We had this curiosity to see more of her character in action, so we welcomed the idea of her having a solo movie. It also helps that Taapsee is a fine actress and she holds the film, well most of it, on her slender but strong shoulders. Of course, she shines in the action sequences, but her emotional side has made the actress nail with her incredible performance.
Akshay Kumar continues his fine form, nailing the role with his dry humour and terrific body language. The dialogues given to both Kumar and Bajpayee are witty and aim to please the frontbenchers. Naam Shabana is one of the rare movies where the second half fares better than the first. There are far more engaging scenes, especially towards the latter part of the movie. The hand to hand action combat is done well, though it needed a little more conviction. The Baby references also work well, most of the times, especially when Anupam Kher makes his entry.
Naam Shabana is like two movies rolled into one. While the first half shows how Shabana gets into the secret service program, the second half focuses on the mission in Malaysia. This could not have been a bad thing if the second half hadn’t completely alienated the events of the first half, and even ignoring to some extent, Shabana herself. Akshay Kumar, who was supposed to be just a cameo, gets to do a lot more than ‘bahut door se aaya hoon, kuch toh karne do.’ In fact, his presence actually overstays its welcome, distracting the audience from the actual protagonist. Poor Prithviraj is wasted in a badly-written role, which only gives him one scene to shine. Manoj Bajpayee gets sidelined in the second half, after having an overbearing presence in the first. The songs are plain average and a complete hindrance to the narrative, while the editing needed to be much crisper.
Naam Shabana Review -Last Word
Watch Naam Shabana purely for Taapsee Pannu’s fine performance and Akshay Kumar’s enjoyable cameo, and also if you loved Baby too much. Just don’t go into theatre expecting another quality stuff like Baby, even if the movie forces us to draw comparisons.