Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Manoj Bajpayee, Akshay Kumar (cameo), Prithviraj Sukumaran and Taher Shabbir
Neeraj Pandey’s 2015 release Baby was loved by many, for the thriller had a stellar cast and an impressive story. The makers are back with its prequel based on the Shabana, praised agent from the previous movie. Well, there could be a possibility that she was loved only because it was her cameo. But this 148 minutes long release is neither compelling, nor convincing.
Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu), the agent, is tough and strong – well that is how she chose to change herself after going through a tragedy in life. She falls in love with Jai (Taher Shabbir), who gets killed while saving her from some men who harass her. This adds to the troubles and she decides to take revenge. That’s when she receives a call from Manoj Bajpayee, who asks her to join the agency (RAW) and help nation in their mission to kill the so-called ‘dynamic’ drug dealer and weapons supplier. The martial artist Shabana agrees to that and becomes a part of the team. What happens to the mission? How does the team trace him? What does Shabana do in the team? Why Akshay Kumar as a cameo? All this strives to make Naam Shabana entertaining, but sadly doesn’t.
These days Bollywood has seen a lot of films made about empowering women, and it certainly is a merit. Pandey and his team deserve appreciation for the thought, but besides this and Taapsee’s action, nothing in the film grips the audience. The script is poor as there are way too many flaws that raise several questions – and many to do with medical science. Plastic surgeries are known to change faces and features but fail to understand how it changes the height of a person drastically.
The first half of the film focuses a lot on Taapsee and her love interest, and only once that is over does the actual story begin. That leaves me to question if around 35 of the film are necessarily needed as an introduction or would a narration suffice? The second half focuses on Shabana and her efforts by RAW to find the ‘villain’ Tony (Prithviraj Sukumaran).
Talking about the girl, Taapsee sincerely delivers a knockout performance. No one apart from her has added any extra value to the film, not even Akshay Kumar’s cameo. Infact, Akshay is seen walking in and out of the film at random moments with absolutely no relevant reference. Manoj Bajpayee is a man of only words and absolutely no action. Other elements of the film (dialogues, music, and cinematography) are also below average. She saves the film and the story and the efforts are definitely seen.
To sum it up, Naam Shabana doesn’t make a mark as strong as Baby. Give this one a miss and watch one of the other releases instead!