Verdict: Sujoy Ghosh delivers Bollywood’s best thriller after Andhadhun.
Sujoy Ghosh has made a name for himself in the crime thriller genre with his film Kahaani (2012) and its sequel Kahaani 2 (2016). The films are considered to be some of the best thrillers made in Bollywood. Now, the director and screenwriter is back with yet another film in his signature genre. Titled Badla, the film is the Hindi adaptation of the 2017 Spanish movie The Invisible Guest. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu in the lead roles, who are yet again embroiled in a case that seems impossible to solve. But the layers that lie beneath the basic plot are deep and unravel slowly but interestingly throughout the two hours of the film.
What’s Badla About:
Naina Sethi (Taapsee Pannu), a married businesswoman, is under house arrest after she is suspected for the murder of her lover, Arjun (Tony Luke). Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) is a top lawyer who is set to fight her case. Badal meets Naina at her house for the first time, where he insists that she tell him the whole story about how she came to be by Arjun’s side when he was found dead. Naina reveals that she was being blackmailed by an unknown person about their affair. She and Arjun met at a secluded hotel to pay off the blackmailer but in the process, she was knocked unconscious and when she regained consciousness, Arjun was already dead in the bathroom. Reports suggest that the room was locked from the inside and there was no other escape. How Badal manages to arrive at the truth about what happened that fateful night forms the rest of the story.
As expected, Badla is full of twists you won’t see coming. Just like in Kahaani, the women are the focus of this film and Taapsee Pannu’s character is a force to be reckoned with. Opposite her is Amrita Singh, who is known for her strong screen presence and we laud Taapsee’s ability to hold her own against this veteran actress. Both their characters are similar in many ways even though they are on the opposing sides of the game that is being played throughout the film. They are deeply attached to what they hold most dear and will do what it takes to protect it. Amitabh Bachchan is at his best too but unlike in Pink where he grabbed the limelight, here Taapsee has managed to maintain a strong screen presence and also has our full attention throughout the film. Her role would be typically played by a man – she is a successful business person who stops at nothing to get what she wants – and Sujoy Ghosh does not take any special efforts to remind us that women are capable of anything too but let’s it slide in naturally.
Badla gives you many instances where you can solve the mystery by yourself and it doesn’t disappoint. You might get a few guesses right but there’s a lot more to the plot that completely takes you by surprise. This is the film’s best element because apart from the actors’ performances, it’s the deeply layered story keeps you hooked throughout.
What Could’ve Been Better:
It’s a natural tendency for filmmakers to choose foreign locations for their films but in Badla, this seems unnecessary. The whole movie could easily take place in India, which would make it more believable that every person involved in this case is Indian. However, we are not complaining because the locations are gorgeous.
Why You Should Watch:
Want to watch a good crime thriller this weekend? If you enjoy a story with lots of twists that keep you guessing, Badla will not disappoint. Taapsee Pannu gives one of her best performances and her chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan once again strikes the right chords. Watch the film soon before all the spoilers are out!
Want to know more about the story and making of Badla? Watch this video below.