Gangster movies - this genre has been done to death. Films like Parinda [Vidhu Vinod Chopra] and Sarya [Ramgopal Varma] stand tall on this list. But, of late, the genre has taken a backseat since people aren't too keen on watching bloodshed and the same old saga of an innocent taking to the world of crime.
Baabarr belongs to the same genre, yet is an exception. It shows how people, even kids, live by the gun and die by the gun. It tells you that crime never ends, it only changes faces. It tells of the wicked nexus between cops-politicians-gangsters and the deterioration of the law and order machinery. Also, this one's not Mumbai-centric, but is set in Uttar Pradesh.
Baabarr isn't just bloodshed, but at the same time, isn't for the faint-hearted either. There's violence galore, in fact several sequences are brutal, and chances are a section of the movie-going audience [read families/ladies] might shy away from this experience.
Yet, what makes Baabarr a must-watch experience is its story, the strong script [Ikram Akhtar] and the deftness with which director Ashuu Trikha has narrated the story. Without a shred of doubt, Baabarr is one of the most powerful films to come out of Bollywood in 2009.
A 12-year-old boy picks up a country made gun and shoots a man in cold blood. His eyes are devoid of any emotion. His heart exhibits no remorse. After shooting the person in broad daylight, he walks the streets of Aman Ganj with a gun in one hand. Everyone present in the market watches this young lad walk with no fear.
The boy, who started from the streets of Aman Ganj, had trespassed every barrier of crime. For the 10 years that followed, he traumatized one and all. His reign of fear terrorized everyone in the state, right from the common man to the Government. He was Baabarr [Sohum Shah]. When this reign of fear knew no bounds, the Government summoned a man to put an end to all of this: Encounter specialist S.P. Dwivedi [Mithun Chakraborty]. The order was simple, arrest him or kill him.
What's the star cast like, that's one question people generally pose when you ask them out for a movie. Baabarr has a new face - Sohum - but that exactly is its USP. Fortunately, he doesn't carry the baggage of an image and that makes the character even more believable. But there's a flipside too. Baabarr is dark and gruesome and a few sequences can actually put you off, which, indirectly, also speaks of how impactful the film is.
Writer Ikram Akhtar's script is power-packed and has several twists and turns in those 2 hours. In fact, even the final sequence of the film catches you unaware and that's what makes Baabarr stand out from the crowd. The dialogues deserve special mention.
Baabarr is Ashuu Trikha's best work so far. His handling of the dramatic sequences is commendable. Action scenes [Abbas Ali Moghul] are true to life. Cinematography [Suhass Gujarathi] deserves full marks. In fact, a film like Baabarr is difficult to shoot and it must've been a challenge for the DoP to give the right texture to the film.
Sohum lives the character of Baabarr and delivers a performance that you carry home after the show has concluded. The film would've fallen flat had it been entrusted to a lesser actor. Mithun Chakraborty is very good. In fact, this is amongst his better works. Om Puri stands out. This film should easily stride into 'Best of Om Puri' catalogue. Tinnu Anand is a revelation. Where was Tinnu all this while? Watch his death sequence in the film and it's sure to give you gooseflesh. Shakti Kapoor is top notch. Again, he seems to be in form after a long, long time.
Sushant Singh is perfect for his part. Urvashi Sharma enacts her part with complete understanding. Govind Namdeo is competent. Mukesh Tiwari is, as always, good. Vivek Shauq, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Pratima Kazmi make an impact in brief roles.
On the whole, Baabarr is a captivating and powerful tale. Sure, there's excessive violence, but there's a reason behind it and that works in its favour. At the box-office, it has best chances in the Northern belt and also at single screens mainly.