‘Badla’: Solid Thrills and Genuine Twists in True Revenge Story

Story: Naina (Taapsee Pannu) is accused for the murder of Arjun (Tony Luke). Her lawyer Jimmy (Manav Kaul) hires the senior advocate Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to help crack the case and defend Naina, but her confessions to Badal add twists and turns to the murder mystery.

Review: Since revenge stories are literally done-to-death in cinema, crafting a smart thriller around the same old saga requires smart execution and tactfulness. Director Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Badla’ delivers solid thrills and genuine twists with great effect. This whodunit, keeps the viewer engaged and constantly guessing about the big reveal. The fact that this is a remake of the Spanish film The Invisible Guest does not matter too much. The solid performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu, along with the eye-for-detail in writing by Ghosh and his team, make the film a thrill-a-minute ride.

The majority of the drama unfolds between just the two characters Naina and Badal Gupta, as they recollect the episode of Arjun’s murder. It’s a dialogue-heavy setup, where the interaction between two central characters draws you in and their repartee catches your attention. In the simplest sense, the premise of ‘Badla’ is a conversation between an accused, Naina and her lawyer, Badal. But, the very fact that both characters withhold the truth and reveal their true intentions, slowly and steadily keeps the intrigue alive. Ghosh and his co-writer Raj Vasant adapt the story to an Indian context with plenty of Mahabharata references. Some of the dialogues get a bit repetitive, but the emotions of the characters and the situation are conveyed crystal clear. The constant back and forth into the flashbacks does get a bit tedious and makes the film feel a lot longer than it actually is.

The real reason why the film comes together is the rapport between Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan. On paper, the setting of client and lawyer may be familiar thanks to the two actors’ previous collaboration Pink, but the relationship and the dynamics between the two are completely new in ‘Badla’. Taapsee’s character has many shades and they’re revealed one by one as the story progresses. — Times of India

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