When diplomacy and international boundaries are the roadblocks, the head of the spy agency in India gives a last shot at apprehending the criminal by going ahead with a covert operation. Nikhil Advani, heavily inspired from theme which is featured many times before in Hollywood movies, attempts to transplant the scenario to the current socio-political context of India. If you are familiar with the works of Nikhil Advani, then you also know the director has left his comfort zone to attempt an entirely different genre. Nikhil's strong point is melodrama. This strong point appears at several places in this movie too but not in a positive way. In the end, the movie turns out to be a watchable fare because of the screenplay, the way in which the movie is shot, editing and some of the actors.
The screenplay by Nikhil Advani, Suresh Nair and Nikhil Vyas(the last two of Kahaani fame) is non-linear. The movie without wasting time puts us right in the middle of action in the first few minutes. The protagonists Wali Khan(Irrfan Khan), Rudra(Arjun Rampal), Zoya Rehman(Huma Qureshi) and Aslam(Aakash Daahiya) tries to nab an unsuspecting Goldman(Rishi Kapoor) after ambushing his convoy in the parking lot of the hotel where Goldman has arrived to take part in the pre-wedding party of his son. That is when the action is abruptly halted on the screen for the director and his screenplay pals to tell us how this operation was planned. This is a technique you see through out the movie. The trio shows us a scene and then take us through the chain of events that led to the scene. This can be at times confusing. But this is also a good way of laying out the movie to keep the viewer hooked to the proceedings. Most of us walk into movie with certain preconceived notions.This technique helps in shaking us out of it. To make the viewers feel they are in the midst of action, the cinematographer has used the shaky camera technique. This adds to the thrill.
It is a doomed operation. The plans do not work and the four operatives are abandoned by their country. To make matters worse, Goldman and the Pakisthani officials are on the lookout for these four operatives while Ashwini Rao(Nassar) who authorized this covert operation tries to get these operatives back to India. The role of Ashwini brings out the bureaucratic and political idiosyncracies. This forms the second half of the movie where Nikhil Advani decides to concentrate on the emotional turmoils of each operatives. This slows the second half especially Rudra's angle. This is a totally unnecessary backstory. Little is said about Aslam. They could have done the same about Rudra to make him more mysterious to the viewer. The whole movie is about suspension of disbelief. Telling nothing about Rudra would not have made us stretch this ability of ours more than what we have done already. Wali's backstory is essential for the plot while Zoya's is amusing which shows the difficulty of balancing work(especially espionage) and life. The second half could have been racier if Nikhil Advani had played the role of a ruthless editor to chop off the songs and also Rudra's love for the prostitute played by Shruti Haasan. Luckily for us, the director returns back to main theme after being lost for a few minutes.
Performance wise, the movie belongs to Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Nassar. Irrfan's character, Wali, is complex to portray. He has been undercover for almost a decade for nabbing Goldman. He is also the man who convinces Ashwini to take up this mission but eventually is imbalanced by the fate of his family. At the end, he becomes a broken man unable to decide where his loyalties lie. The role is safe with Irrfan. Rishi Kapoor shows the various faces of Goldman very well. Goldman rarely becomes angry and when he becomes angry, you better stay out of the way. Otherwise he is always reasoning it out with everyone, even with his captors. These are the scenes which is enjoyable to watch because we know Goldman is playing with his captor's mind. Nassar is a surprising choice for the role. Hindi movies are not his forte although Nassar has effectively portrayed similar roles in Tamil movies. Nassar brings out the patriotic nature and the determination of Ashwini very well. Luckily, the director has allowed Nassar to dub in his voice thereby not diluting his performance despite having a pronounced South Indian accent.
There is a lot of blood and mutilation in the movie. So it should be out of bounds for kids. The movie is good attempt in making a thriller while heavily borrowing from Hollywood. There is a good amount of planning done on the project to customize it for our palette and also for how to tell a story. This is the best part of the movie. You may choose this movie if you have nothing else to watch in the multiplex.