'Paisa uska joh dhanda jaanta ho, aur main hoon dhando no gando chokro'. That's Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan) for you! A self-made Gujarati billionaire who is shrewd, manipulative and unscrupulous. In what is one of the most powerful scenes of the film, during a religious ceremony in an auditorium, Shakun stages a hostile takeover on an established business family as chants of repetance resonate in the hall.
The man is revered and loathed in equal measures. While Shakun is busy playing dirty in the world of stock trading in Mumbai, elsewhere in Allahabad is a young stock broker Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) who worships Batra and aspires to be like him. He believes that his small-town mentality' can't keep him from making it big like his idol.
Soon, Rizwan lands in Mumbai. But his motto is clear. He's here not to struggle, but to settle. With the help of his colleague and lady love Priya (Radhika Apte) who also happens to be a seasoned stock broker, Rizwan comes under Shakun's radar and manages to win him over.
Both the men are different as chalk and cheese. Shakun notably mentions at one point, "Tu emotions pe chalta hain, main maths par." But that doesn't stop these two from joining hands. Slowly as events unfold, Rizwan realizes that his appetite to rise above the rest comes with a cost.
While Baazaar borrows heavily from the 1987 Michael Douglas-Charlie Sheen film, 'Wall Street', Gauravv K. Chawl adds a local flavour to it to cater to our very own Dalal Street. The movie comes with its own shares of ups and downs. The first half of the film is a total crackler. However post interval, things take a convenient turn before it plummets towards the climax. Unlike the sensex, you can easily predict the twists coming in your way. Nevertheless, Saif gets to mouth some whistleworthy dialogues.
Baazaar is Saif Ali Khan's show all the way. As someone who has a voracious appetite for power, the actor brings in the right amount of ruthlessness and craftiness. Debutant Rohan Mehra still has a long way to go. But, the young lad proves why he is no 'one film wonder'.
Speaking about the girl power, Radhika Apte gets to flirt with different shades in her character and emerges victorious. Chitrangda Singh as the trophy wife does what's expected of her.
Shruti Gupte's production design is slick and perfectly captures the familiar Mumbai milieu. Swapnil Sonawan's lens work wonders. The editing sails with the narrative.
In the music department, barring 'Kem Cho', none of the songs stay with you and instead takes away the intense built-up of a scene.
At one point in the film, Saif's character Shakun says, "Haar aur jeet mein ek hi pharak hota hain, bhook." The same holds true for Baazaar. While Gauravv K. Chawl's hunger to dabble with an exciting topic of stock trading is evident, the film misses hitting the bullseye by a whisker. But, it still manages to hold your attention for 140 minutes and the credit largely goes to Saif's streaks of grey. I am going with 3 stars here.