Khuda Hafiz: Film Review – The Extraordinary Journey of an Ordinary Man

Watch for Vidyut!
50%Overall Score

Streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar

When Disney+ Hotstar announced the line-up of Bollywood films that would be releasing on its platform, all eyes were on the big-budget and star-studded productions like Laxmmi Bomb, Sadak 2, Dil Bechara, and Bhuj: The Pride of India. While everyone was excited to see top Bollywood stars on screen again, the Vidyut Jammwal starrer Khuda Hafiz generated most intrigue as not much was known about this film. The trailer that released a few weeks later promised an interesting plot and lots of Jammwal-esque action. In its 2 hours and 13 minutes, Khuda Hafiz packs romance, action, crime, thrills, and some unintentional comedy. #FindNargis is already trending on Twitter, as the plot revolves around the search for Nargis (Shivaleeka Oberoi) who is abducted in Oman. Her husband Sameer (Vidyut Jammwal) lands there to find the cause of her mysterious disappearance and upon realizing that she has been trafficked, he tries to free her from the prostitution ring. All of this happens while the Omani government and Indian Embassy of Oman stand by and let Jamwwal do what he does best – take down the bad guys in style!

Plot focusses less on the victim and more on the hero

While Nargis is the one kidnapped and sold into prostitution, the movie cares lesser about her. Instead, it focusses on Sameer’s efforts to find her. From making allies to exposing corrupt government officials to taking down an international prostitution ring solo, Vidyut Jammwal does it all. He is a man on a mission and nothing will stop this ordinary sales manager from getting what he wants, even if it is completely out of his control. Shivaleeka Oberoi plays the coy Naris to the best of her abilities but there isn’t much for her to do in the film. But Vidyut never failed to entertain and even though you wished he’d show off some of his amazing martial arts skills or take off his shirt once in a while, the actor focusses on displaying his acting skills in this film. In all honesty, he’s not all bad but just gives the people what they want, right?

The supporting actors are a pleasant surprise

If you did not get enough of Annu Kapoor from the trailer, don’t expect to see him much in the film. The veteran makes some significant appearances, playing a crucial in finding Nargis but while the plot focusses on Sameer, it completely overlooks Usman Ali Murad – the over-friendly tourist cabbie who goes out of his way to help passengers. Shiv Pandit also has a meaty role as Faiz Abu Malik, the commando in charge of finding Nargis with Aahana Kumra as Tamena Hamid, his partner. Both the actors play their parts to perfection if you just ignore the odd-sounding Arab accents they have to put on for their roles.

Not just an action movie

No Vidyut Jammwal movie lacks action but Khuda Hafiz is far from an action entertainer. The initial few scenes are reserved for Sameer and Nargis’ love story, with a few songs that ramp up the romance angle. As good as Jammwal is in action, he is terribly awkward in the romantic scenes and appears like a lost puppy in most of them. Once he is in Oman, we get a few good thrilling scenes but none with the kind of over-the-top action you’d expect from such a movie. Even though the plot of the film is quite dark, the situations around Nargis’ abduction end up being somewhat funny especially when you take into consideration the ineptitude of the government in finding her. Vidyut does it all himself and even if you find the plot a little hard to believe, you will be rooting for his win.

WATCH OR NOT:
Khuda Hafiz is not the movie you’re likely to see trending on the Independence Day weekend. So if you’ve had enough of the overtly nationalistic jingoism drama, this serves as a good breather. Watch it for Vidyut Jamwwal’s attempts to be a more wholesome actor and for the supporting cast who more than “supports” a clunky plot. They’re the real stars of the film and Vidyut is the hero we need in these trying times.

Director: Faruk Kabir
Writer: Faruk Kabir
Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Annu Kapoor, Shiv Pandit, Aahana Kumra
Language: Hindi
Streaming on: Hotstar

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Delnaz Divecha: Writer. Editor. Critic.