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Lakadbaggha

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
3 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi film Lakadbaggha which is playing at a theatre near me. I am always in favour of original scripts and ideas. So in a rare occasion in recent times, Bollywood has come up with two original films on the same weekend. But I was a little bummed by the fact that there were not many takers for Kuttey and Lakadbaggha. The latter has such limited shows that it was a bit of a task to match my timings with the show. Yes, the film doesn’t star many known ‘commercial’ faces but a film always should be given a fair chance to perform. And I say this because its trailer did look promising, almost a Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota and a Bhavesh Joshi crossover, but it is touted as the first vigilante film involving animals which is a concept in itself. With much hope, I did venture into the film, so then does Lakadbaggha manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

Lakadbaggha follows the story of an animal vigilante who discovers an illegal animal racket in Kolkata featuring a Hyena. Will he manage to stall it? The story is interesting at the concept level and does make a good case for itself. The screenplay standing at a shade above 2 hours is entertaining and relevant given the issue at hand, however on the downside, it doesn’t raise its stakes enough.

The drama opens in dramatic fashion with the introduction of the protagonist who is shown to have a soft corner for animals, and dogs specifically. In a spectacular fight sequence, he does save the day for a little pup who would have been run over. In the subsequent scene, it is established that the police are on the lookout for a vigilante who does seem to have beaten a few goons in two separate incidents. So the setup is really good here and it does make for an engrossing beginning. In a parallel track involving the antagonist, an illegal animal racket is being carried out. This until the two worlds meet!

The drama is engaging and entertaining but one issue which I did have with the drama was that there are no real high points in it. It begins, unfolds and ends at the same wavelength. In other words, there are no real surprises here. The drama is fairly predictable and very safe with the way it is penned. If I have to recall, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota or even Bhavesh Joshi, these films either did incorporate a further layered concept of humour and pain, or added a sublayer of the politics and themes which are taking place. But here that element was missing and treated on the surface, although the drama was very watchable and entertaining.

On the plus side, the drama is an absolute treat for animal lovers like me. I am a vegetarian and one of the reasons for it is my love for animals. So the trait of the protagonist being a vegan himself, did add a nice little trait to maintain the consistency of his character. As a subplot, the brewing romance between the cop and the protagonist is quite sweet and does result in moments which did put a smile on my face. Also speaking a little about the action, I did like how the action set pieces were incorporated in the drama and also an effort made in establishing on how the protagonist did learn martial arts. So full marks for effort!

An underwhelming feature of the screenplay was its convenient and cliched final act that did have good martial arts moves but did seem half baked with respect to its impact. The final face-off could have been executed a little better, probably by also bringing all characters under a single roof. So overall, the screenplay is decently well written although it could have dug in a little deeper with its concept. But as an origin story is does work in parts.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are well penned and do make for an impactful watch. The music and BGM is fabulous and it does go well with the drama. The cinematography is good as is the editing but the action sequences could have done without a few jump cuts. Director Victor Mukherjee has done a good job in creating an action entertainer which is engaging but he could still have pushed the envelope by raising the stakes. A few sequences not withstanding which could have been executed better, the direction is good here.

Performances

The performances are quite good here. Bijou Thaangjam is good in a cameo. Eksha Kerung does impress in some exciting combat sequences. Milind Soman as Arjun’s father is sincere in again an extended cameo. Paresh Pahuja as Aryan is outstanding here. This could so easily have been an over the top performance where the antagonist would ham through his teeth. Instead, his approach was a calming one that resulted in a greater impact as he did seem more intimidating. Also, it was a pleasure to witness his diction, enunciating every word! Lovely! Ridhi Dogra as Akshara looks pretty and is absolutely splendid to watch. There was a sense of ease to her performance along with bouts of punches in a brilliantly performed act! Anshuman Jha as Arjun is spectacular and you can see the amount of hard work which he has put in here. Right from his body language to the physicality of his character to excelling both in drama as well as combat sequences, he does it all. It was a great outing for him, personally!

Conclusion

Lakadbaggha is a good origin story of an animal vigilante that can be watched once. Available in a theatre near you.

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