02 Hours 26 Minutes
Action, Drama, Thriller
Star Cast: John Abraham and Mrunal Thakur
Directors: Nikkhil Advani
Producer: John Abraham
In Theaters: 15 August 2019
"Every triumph goes through a trial"- Batla House starring John Abraham will hit the silver screens on Independence Day. Here is a review of the movie by Senior Journalist and Author Bharathi Pradhan. Take a look.
In 2008, when a different government was in power at the Centre, the reigning party had heavily politicised the gunning down of terrorists responsible for a series of bomb blasts all over Delhi and the country. Famous as the Batla House encounter, the Delhi Police was charged with victimising the Muslim community, claiming that they had targete dinnocent students. The accusations were so wild and vociferous that even when a senior policeman died in the operation, the charge was that there were no terrorists there, he had been shot down by his own colleagues because of inter-departmental rivalry. According to a statement made by her own party leader Salman Khurshid on television, Sonia Gandhi had even burst into tears over the killing of the ‘students', dubbing the whole Batla House operation as a fake encounter. But subsequent enquiries and court cases finally led to the acquittal of DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav as it was resoundingly proved that with the Batla House killings, he and his Special Cell team had indeed destroyed an active module of the dreaded Indian Mujahideen.
The entire Batla House episode, from the time the Delhi Police nosed out the terrorists hidden in that house as students to the dangerously trumped up allegation of fake encounter made by the media and the politicians who were then in power,and the ugly court trials that proved beyond doubt that those who'd been killed had been dreaded terrorists and not students, makes for a thriller with an interesting graph.
Director Nikkhil Advani succeeds in bringing out the dilemma of DCP Sanjeev Kumar as the investigative work and the breaking of the terror module by his team keep coming under fire from journalists and politicians which impede the work of the Special Cell. Their subsequent victory in dragging the mastermind to court and winning their case is uplifting, especially when one knows that this is a true story against terror.
But for some inexplicable reason, except for a fleeting shot of Salman Khurshid's statement which is all too brief to even register, director Nikkhil Advani glosses over the politics and thereby tells an incomplete story. One can only guess that it was perhaps his own political leanings that prevented him from telling the Batla House story as it should have told, bare-knuckled and full-throated.
The DCP's methods of eliciting a confession from a terrorist who had surrendered at Batla House or the nabbing of mastermind Dilshad are so ham-handed that there are moments when the police come off as blunderers. But Dilshad's girlfriend helping the police by thinking on her feet was a neat scene and so were some of the investigations that Sanjeev Kumar documents in court. But again, the tendency to trivialise serious court proceedings robbed it of the required tautness.
But all is forgiven as, at the end of the day, Batla House was a story that needed to be told. If only the telling had been sharper, slicker and more lucid, this would have been a great piece of cinema to add to our growing repertoire of real triumphs.
John Abraham who hascarved for himself the image of the unsmiling, upright patriot who works tirelessly for the country, can add Batla House as another feather in his cap. Mrunal Thakur as his wife Nandini is inconsistent in her characterisation. For a TV anchor who stands by her husband's side when he's going through his roughest patch, why Nikkhil introduces her as the typical whining wife who can't accept the demands of her husband's profession, is strange. Ravi Kishen is easy as KK, the officer who's slain at Batla House.
Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.
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