Verdict: Non-dramatic, non-jingoistic but a raw and realistic portrayal of the workings of intelligence officers.
More than a decade ago, India was plagued by a series of bomb blasts across major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur. The mastermind behind these attacks – Yasin Bhatkal – was on the list of the National Investigation Agency’s “Most Wanted” for a long time. Finally, it was the efforts of a few officers who managed to apprehend him in Nepal that brought India’s Osama down. Raj Kumar Gupta’s latest film India’s Most Wanted tells us the story of these brave heroes with a raw and realistic portrayal of their covert mission.
What’s India’s Most Wanted About:
The movie starts off with a blast (pun intended) and an introduction to “Ghost” who is behind the series of attacks taking place all over India. The Intelligence Bureau is on tenterhooks but unable to get its hands on any information that can lead to his capture. Meanwhile in Bihar, intelligence officer Prabhat (Arjun Kapoor) receives some information about the man in question (named Yusuf here) through his source in Nepal. His plea to gather a team and conduct an operation falls on deaf ears so it is up to Prabhat and a few odd men to head to Nepal posing as tourists and conduct a covert operation to capture India’s Most Wanted. They are given no monetary support or organizational backup and do not even have weapons to defend themselves. How they still manage to capture one of the deadliest terrorists without firing a bullet forms the rest of the story.
Raj Kumar Gupta is known for his simple style of narration, as seen in previous films like Aamir, No One Killed Jessica, and Raid. He brings the best out of his actors and does not resort to typical filmy tropes like OTT drama and unnecessary use of song and dance numbers to get his message to the audience. He does not take sides but portrays stories in a raw format, which can be hard to digest. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see a non-jingoistic take on a film that boasts of patriotism. The director has no qualms about portraying IB’s inefficiency in capturing one of its most wanted criminals or its lack of support to the officers who risk their lives while doing so. This wholesome depiction of the story makes India’s Most Wanted visibly stand out from other spy thrillers made in Bollywood or films that claim to strike your nationalistic chords.
On the performance front, Arjun Kapoor’s stoic demeanor works well for this film. He has downplayed his character, as he is required to do but still stands out in terms of visibility and performance. The other supporting characters complement the story well but Sudev Nair as Yusuf does not get enough screen time even though the film is literally about his capture.
What Could’ve Been Better:
India’s Most Wanted definitely has an interesting premise but staggers slightly in its execution. A crisp editing with a few added thrills would have won more favors for the film. Background music has also been underused.
Why You Should Watch:
One of the best reasons to watch India’s Most Wanted is to educate yourself about the capture of one of India’s deadliest terrorists. This realistic depiction of a true story hits hard and captures the essence of the story well. There’s also a comical reference to the Badshah of Bollywood you do not want to miss.