It is a double whammy this Monday just to beat the blues. With that I finished watching the new Hindi film Vadh which is streaming on Netflix. One of the best advantages of OTT platforms are that even some of the smaller films(for a lack of a better word) do grab eyeballs. And from the viewer’s perspective, there are a few gems to be discovered day in and day out. In turn what that has done is changed the whole ecosystem of how films are made and how people are cast. So in today’s date say a Pankaj Tripathi would be a bigger star than any other mainstream actor of films. And scripts are regularly been written for powerhouses of talent like Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjay Mishra to name a few, who otherwise would never have been a part of such meaty roles.
Taking Vadh specifically into consideration, it did star Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta, two huge power-packed performances together onscreen. And I was really curious to watch them together. So after a blink and a miss kind of a theatrical release, the film did premiere on Netflix. So then does Vadh manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Vadh follows the story of an aged couple who are harassed by a loan shark until a crime is committed. What happens next? The story here has a vibe of Drishyam and the Hindi series Tabbar. There is a neo-noir streak to it but in a completely different setting. The screenplay standing at a 110 minutes ensures that there are not many diversions in the screenplay.
The drama has a good amount of world-building to it which almost did make the drama unassuming. So you are introduced to the protagonist who stays with his wife amidst a humble backdrop. His son, now in the US, pays very little heed to the couple who had taken a huge amount of loan to send him abroad to study. The loans is not the only issue that the couple have to deal with, another obstacle is the loan shark who is a local goon and a disgusting human being. But the chain of events as to what happens next will definitely have your attention.
The proceedings are intriguing and engrossing particularly during the world building in the first hour. The drama is eventful with one thing leading to another that does result in the crime which is shot in a rather gruesome manner. That particular scene will make you squirm in your seat. However, I had kind of expected things to gain a little more steam or be a little more eventful post that. The drama was eventful with subtle twists and turns but that knockout blow was missing, something which could have elevated the drama to new heights.
Another minor drawback was that the writers did give me an impression that they did not know how to end the drama. What did seem like a seamless drama for most parts, suddenly changed course by introducing a late twist to the tale that felt forced and rather abrupt. The twist does work individually keeping the larger picture in mind but it did not seem half as convincing at a point when it was introduced. It kind of felt half-baked and underwhelming. But having said that, the drama is still solid for atleast three quarters of the film that really made me curious on how things would materialize further. A minor emotional track could have been developed further for a payback towards the end thereby minimizing a couple of loose threads as well. But overall, the screenplay is decently well penned.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sharp and definitely make for a solid impact. The BGM is terrific and kicks in at crucial junctures to elevate the drama with the desired impact. The cinematography is good, I did have some issues with the dubbing here and there but that can be passed. The editing also could have been better. Directors Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal have done a pretty solid job for most parts of the drama, faltering only towards the end. The direction is pretty good here that does grip you and has you invested for atleast three quarters of the drama.
I was elated to see some acting powerhouses sharing screen space together here. Saurabh Sachdeva as Prajapati is outstanding in a character that shall repel you from the beginning. He is subtly intimidating too in a job well done. Manav Vij as Shakti is in his elements and does a great job. Neena Gupta is probably in the purplest form of her acting career. Here as Manju, she is aptly cast and she does a brilliant job. She is well restrained in a few scenes and emotes beautifully in a few others.
But the show does belong to Sanjay Mishra who is one of the finest actors in the country at the moment. He is simply brilliant and natural to the core as Shambhunath Mishra. The role required him to internalize and explode only in parts. And if there is method acting that any budding actors would wish to learn then they should study the performance here. The manner in which he approaches his character deserves an additional half a star to the overall rating of the film.
Despite an underwhelming and abrupt final act, Vadh is a solid watch with stellar performances that can be watched once. Available on Netflix.