Film Review: Naam ShabanaDate: 31 March 2017
Producer: Neeraj Pandey & Shital Bhatia
Director: Shivam Nair
Cast: Tapsee Pannu, Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran,Manoj Bajpayee
Rating: 2 stars
Shabana Khan/ Tapsee Pannu lives in Mumbai’s crowded Mohamed Ali road with her widowed mother and shares all her secrets with her. On the surface, she is a regular college going girl who attends lectures and spends time with friends but gradually you discover that she is different from her friends and there is a reason why she trains in self-defense and will not submit to a silent admirer who she is secretly attracted to.
Khan is unaware that she is being followed at every step and one dark night, when she gets into trouble it is her mysterious follower who sends her aid.
Naam Shabana is a spy thriller where she is singled out for a dangerous mission! The Agency/ Manoj Bajpaye has its reasons for choosing her out of thousands of candidates and Shabana has personal agenda for agreeing to be a part of the daring deal.
As the story shifts from the cheerful college and the buzzing Mohamed Ali Road to a discreet, desolate venue, the mood turns ominous and the tension builds up when Shabana travels first to Goa and then to Kolalampur.
The film is a sequel of the banner’s 2015 release Baby and this is probably the first time that a minor character of the prequel has inspired a sequel.
What goes in favor of the film is the evocative writing, real locations and chilling action. The negative is the film is unusually lengthy and could do with sharp editing. The second half is slow paced and overlooks important characters like Shabana’s mother and Manoj Bajpaye which makes the narrative one tracked and a dull watch.
If only writer Neeraj Pandey had been more diligent and detailed screenplay…
However the good thing about the film is that all the actors of Baby, Danny Danzongpa /Anupam Kher /Akshay Kumar make a cameo in the sequel.
The bad is that we cannot help comparing Naam Shabana with Baby and the sequel pales in comparison with the prequel.
As the Agency chief Manoj Bajpayee is controlled and effective, as Tony/Prithviraj Sukumaran is refreshing. As Shabana Khan Tapsee Pannu punches her oppressors with as much force as she controls her emotions.
From the intimidated professional in Pink Tapsee matures to a hardened, fearless voice exposing the evils of society and delivers a stark, remarkable and measured performance.
I rate Naam Shabana with 2.5 stars.