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Friday, 23 January 2015

Baby (Hindi) (2015)

One day…. Maybe someday soon, we will see a refreshing and reassuring Bollywood Espionage movie that is action packed from start to finish.  Stuff that most of our aspirations are made of right? Well fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a ride that has been most strangely named BABY.

Why BABY you may ask and the answer will come to you in the voice of Feroze Ali Khan (Danny Denzongpa) who is the head of a special unit.  This unit is made up of officers who, in the words of Feroze Ali Khan, “Desh ke liye marna nahin chahte.  Desh ke liye Jeena chaahte hain” (They don’t want to die for their country.  They want to live for it).

That simple, practical and non-jingoistic line pretty much sums up the essence of Baby.  A bunch of highly qualified and highly trained individuals who have been handpicked by FAK to run counter insurgency operations across the world.  From Istanbul to Kathmandy to Al-Dera (Saudi Arabia), Baby takes us through a thrill a minute ride across West and South Asia.

Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) is the main member of this secret team that the government will disown if caught.  Their current operation involves Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon) who is a dreaded Indian Mujahideen (IM) Leader and has escaped from the clutches of the cops.

To get Bilal Khan, our heroes have to go through several smaller operations and that is basically the narrative of Neeraj Pandey’s 3rd directorial venture (Special 26 (2013) / A Wednesday (2008)) and his 2nd with Akshay Kumar.  And I have loved all 3 of them. There is no reason to expect any different in the future.

The extent to which Pandey has kept Baby real has probably been limited only by the market that he has to address that needs masala to be successful.  But despite those limitations, the team involved in Baby has tried to keep things as real as possible.  Whether it is the blood and gore or even the relationship between Ajay and his wife (Madhurima Tuli) – there is a certain realism about it.

Pandey is not afraid to use dialogue that is cut and dry and yet he balances it out with the odd one that will make the audience break out into whistles and cat calls such as, “Hum Religion ke column mein bold letters mein “INDIAN” likhte hain” (We proudly write INDIAN against the column designated for Religion”.

In this mould, no one comes close to Akshay Kumar as an action hero.  AK is ably supported by the experienced Denzongpa and Anupam Kher.  Watch out for the short role that Tapasee Pannu has to execute which she does with aplomb.  Of course, lets not forget our neighbours from across the border - Rasheed Naz, Mikaal Zulfiqar & Hassan Nomaan who are all fabulous.

In simple words, Baby is the perfect balance between smart humour and attention to detail (sans a few big booboos that I am choosing to ignore).  It couples the requirements of an Indian audience for some over the top masala stuff with the pragmatism required in an Espionage movie.  Well balanced and well made.  7.5 on 10.  Definitely watch it.

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