Ab Tak Chhappan 2 is an entirely pointless sequel, a film that has frankly no business to exist. It has neither plot nor relevance, and even at a running time of 1 hour and 41 minutes, it feels too long and completely unnecessary. Unlike the earlier film from 2004 that was loosely based on the life and times of encounter specialist Daya Nayak, this sequel doesn’t particularly resonate with the times. Let’s face it, the underworld is no longer the formidable villain that it once was, which makes the very premise of this film outdated.

Sadhu Agashe (Nana Patekar), now retired from the police force and living with his young son in a coastal village, is persuaded to return to Mumbai and help release the city from the stranglehold of two rival underworld factions. As our committed hero goes about his job weeding out shooters and henchmen, it becomes clear both to him and to us in the audience that nothing much has changed. The lives of close ones are once again put at risk, even as those meant to uphold the law are revealed to have close links with law-breakers.

Predictable and simplistic, the script of Ab Tak Chhappan 2 offers little by way of freshness or originality, instead piling up the clichés and reinforcing lazy stereotypes. Director Aejaz Gulab stages mostly unimpressive action scenes – like a shootout in a cowshed and a chase through a red-light area – that are sorely lacking in tension or thrills. What you get instead are long, rambling sermons on the politics of power and the difference in perception and reality.

Although peppered with good actors like Ashutosh Rana, Govind Namdeo, Mohan Agashe and Vikram Gokhale, the film gives them little to do, leaving the bulk of heavy lifting to Nana Patekar, who thankfully doesn’t disappoint. Conveying a cynical world-weariness in his performance, Nana plays Sadhu as a man haunted by ghosts from his past, yet steadfast in his commitment to his cause.

Ab Tak Chhappan 2 has neither the benefit of Shimit Amin’s crisp direction nor a script as wholesome and probing as the first one. Even Ramgopal Varma, who produced the earlier film, isn’t involved with this one. What it does have, unfortunately, is the same dizzying camerawork of many of Varma’s recent films. I came out with my head spinning.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Ab Tak Chhappan 2. Everything about it feels rehashed and redundant.

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