Narrated by a youngster and oozing blood and violence, Ashu Trikha’s Baabarr is a crime-filled story set in the crowded bylanes of Amanganj, UP, where lawlessness abides, cops and crooks are strange bedfellows and politicians are waiting to milk any situation to their advantage, while keeping the society primitive. Bearing traces to movies in its genre (Sehar, Satya or even Gulaal), Baabarr adequately quenches any thirst for gun-toting action while keeping its pace in place.
Introduced to a life of violence at a young age, Baabarr (Sohum) kills his first victim at age 12. By the time he’s turned 24, he’s already a dreaded extortionist, with a raging temper and attitude to match. Sheltered by his brothers, corrupt cop (Om Puri) and family friend (Tinu Anand), he holds Amanganj at ransom, until an encounter specialist (Chakraborty) is flown in for remedy; interestingly his rival Tabrez (Sushant Singh) is not far behind in the crimefest, but is not paid much attention to by neither lawmaker nor lawkeeper. Soon the cumulative boiling point is reached which results in more bloodshed and betrayal, and a strange turn of events that promises you there’s more from where that came from.
While Baabarr doesn’t have anything to set it apart from other crime thrillers, it gets your attention for the fairly engrossing plot. Scenes where Baabarr is on a hunting-spree and close on the heels of Tabrez, or where a corrupt cop changes loyalties under nailbiting circumstances can get you on the edge of your seat.
The performances are not bad either. Sohum may not convince you as the baddest kid in town, but at least he’s not trying to fit into any mould. And this may well be Om Puri’s masterstroke.
Baabarr is one of those films that borders on real cinema, while not completely breaking out of the Bollywood cliche.