Verdict: John Abraham strengthens his foothold in the genre of movies with a patriotic spirit.
After Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, Satyameva Jayate and Romeo Akbar Walter, John Abraham’s new venture Batla House explores the infamous police encounter of 2008. All of his previous movies have one thing in common – they’re semi-patriotic with John Abraham at the center of it. We say semi-patriotic because they’re not meant to invoke any kind of nationalistic feeling and yet, they do. John plays the lead in the new film too, which has been directed by Nikkhil Advani, making this their third collaboration (after Salaam-E-Ishq and Satyameva Jayate). The film is not based entirely on the Batla House encounter but weaves its own dramatic tale around it.
What’s Batla House About:
In the year 2008, Delhi is rocked by serial blasts. One morning, a team of policemen from Delhi Police’s Special Cell apprehend suspected terrorists at Batla House. An encounter follows in which two of the suspects and Inspector KK (Ravi Kishan) lose their lives. The whole incident sparks major outrage in the city and everyone believes the encounter to be fake. Questions are raised by the public, media, and political parties and ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav (John Abraham) bears the brunt of their wrath. To top it all, his marriage to journalist Nandita Yadav (Mrunal Thakur) is crumbling and he’s suffering from PTSD after one of the suspected terrorists fired a bullet at him. But he must complete his investigation and clear his name off all allegations.
Much like in his earlier release of the year, John Abraham is once again set out to prove his patriotism. He faces many hurdles along the way but nothing deters him from his mission. His journey is laden with some action, lots of emotions, and a brief romance. In Batla House, he gives a nuanced performance as a disgraced police officer. His act is overwhelming especially because you see the human being behind the uniform. Even his PTSD has been effectively portrayed and it is refreshing to see Bollywood address such mental issues.
The first half of the movie is packed with action, covering the encounter and the outrage that follows, while the second half is an intense courtroom drama. Apart from John, Mrunal Thakur serves as a strong female lead and in scenes between the two, she manages to capture most of your attention. Ravi Kishan is the icebreaker in this intense film and Nora Fatehi does more than just an item number. Nevertheless, her dance moves in the song O Saki Saki show us exactly why she’s Bollywood’s go-to item girl. Warning: do not attempt them at home!
What Could’ve Been Better:
In its dramatized retelling inspired by a real incident, Batla House distorts many facts. Even though the movie tries not to take sides, the narrative is fairly black and white. The dialogues are on the sentimental side and John Abraham’s monologue towards the end could’ve been more hard-hitting.
Why You Should Watch:
Batla House gives you a dose of thrills that’s currently missing in the recent releases. With action, romance, and even a pinch of comedy, this movie is a complete entertainment package. Watch it for John Abraham’s intense performance or for the patriotic feels – you’re likely to enjoy it either way.