Aiyaary Review: A snail-paced film which will certainly activate one’s defence mechanism

Starring Sidharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet and Manoj Bajpayee in lead roles, Neeraj Pandey's recent release Aiyaary, takes its own sweet time to get a hold. While the leads strive to save the film, the pace, length and narration of the film are strong factors for the disappointment.

Aiyaary Review: A snail-paced film which will certainly activate one’s defence mechanism

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet, Pooja Chopra, Naseeruddin Shah, Adil Hussain and others.

Rating: 2.5/5

India’s political scenario, corruption, state of governance, defence, etc. are not novel subjects, and sadly the central theme of Neeraj Pandey’s recent release, Aiyaary, revolves around the same. The film stars Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet in the lead roles. Other supporting actors include Pooja Chopra, Naseeruddin Shah, Adil Hussain and many more.

The film earlier slated for a release on January 26, along with Akshay Kumar’s PadMan, was later shifted to February 9, 2018, but due to some issues and opposition from the defence ministry, the date was again pushed to February 16, 2018, for the release.

Written and directed by Neeraj Pandey, Aiyaary is a political-crime thriller throwing light, once again, on the adulterated defence and political sectors of the country, where a tax-payers money flows in abundance to buy the weapons at four times higher cost than the original. General Pratap Malik (Vikram Gokhale), an honest army general, trusts and works closely with Colonel Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), who is ordered to lead the Data and Systems’ team in the Indian Army, which Major Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra), Captain Maya Semwal (Pooja Chopra) and others are a part of. The team performs its duty to the best – with honesty, dedication and pride. Jai is swooned by his lead Abhay’s style of work and wishes to be like him one day. However, his attitude towards the service changes on knowing the corruption and deals brought into the system by Lt. General Gurinder Singh (Kumud Mishra) who along with Mukesh Kapoor (Adil Hussain) strikes a deal for arms trade at a higher cost, which truly is hard earned tax money, eventually divided and filled in the pockets of the corrupted officers. Jai falls in love with Sonia Gupta (Rakul Preet), a techie, who helps him in the mission. Things get sour when the relationship between Abhay and Jai go through a hard time, as neither of them knows what is happening in the system, and how to deal with it, to safeguard the image of the country and the reputed defence sector.

How do these army officers take charge, and what happens to the existing corruption rackets and the members involved? These subjects become the crux of Aiyaary.

The film’s first impression is sadly not very appealing. However, Sidharth Malhotra as Jai and Manoj Bajpayee as Abhay, are definitely impressive. Sidharth’s effort in being uptight as an army officer is good to watch. He fits the role quite well. Manoj, on the other hand, just like his other movies, delivers his best. To be honest both these actors save the film to a large extent. Rakul Preet as Sonia has a mediocre performance and offers a decent watch. All the other supporting cast have also performed fairly well.

While the characters have performed well, the biggest concerns here are the length of the film and the pace in which it plays. The 160-minute long film is slow and initially unsteady, but not in the later parts. It takes almost the first half of the film, for the plot to get a firm grip, and sadly when it does, it is already a bit late. However, the second half of the film brings interesting points in the story. 

Talking about the lyrics and music would have only made sense if it offered something that the film couldn’t. Alas, that is not the case either.

The blame for Aiyaary’s poor delivery solely goes to the writer and the editor. Had they done the job pretty well, the film would have survived and not been let down. We have seen many films with similar subjects, and some of them have been liked, and are still remembered by a large section of fans. Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary could have been one amongst those, but disappointingly, it wouldn’t.

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