‘TORBAAZ’ | 12 December, 2020

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Raju Chadha, Rahul Mittra Films and Clapstem Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Torbaaz (16+) is set in strife-torn Afghanistan. It is the story of an Indian, Nasser (Sanjay Dutt), who has lost his wife, Meera (Priyanka Verma), and young son, Aryan (Preet Bhanushali), to terrorist activity in the country. Aryan’s young friend had been the human bomb who had killed him, mother Meera and many others in the marketplace. Nasser goes to Afghanistan again but is unable to get over his loss. He is pained to see that young children are still being misled into believing that jehad is the only way of life.

Nasser soon finds a mission for himself — he begins to train children in cricket so that their attention is diverted from jehad. Among the kids he is training are three — Baaz (Aishan Jawaid Malik), Bakht (Mohammed Khairkhah) and Khosh Bakht (Hamid Shafi) — who have already been finalised and trained to become human bombs. Just a day before an important match between Nasser’s cricket team and the local Academy’s team, Baaz, Bakht and Khosh Bakht go missing. It turns out that terrorist Qazar (Rahul Dev) has held them captive for his mission of spreading terror and killing people. Nasser pleads with Qazar to spare the three kids. What happens thereafter? Does Qazar allow the three kids to play the match? Why is the cricket match so important?

Girish Malik has penned the story which appears to be interesting because it juxtaposes peace (sport) and terror. It also shows how young, impressionable minds are misled into becoming terrorists. However, while the storyline is engaging, the way it has been developed is not interesting. Girish Malik and his co-screenplay writer, Bharti Jakhar, have penned the screenplay as if it were for a documentary. Not only does the screenplay move at a snail’s pace but it also becomes repetitive after a point of time. Since the visuals are mostly mountainous open lands, the drama appears to get even more monotonous after a point of time. Except for a tension-ridden and morose drama, there is precious little in the film. There is no romance and there are no light moments in the screenplay. Even emotions, which should have been the screenplay’s mainstay, are missing. Of course, there is an attempt to evoke emotions but it doesn’t bear fruit. Girish Malik and Bharti Jakhar’s dialogues are good at a few places only.

Sanjay Dutt has acted well in the role of Nasser but the audience would feel disappointed as they would expect him to do action. However, Sanjay does not have any action scene in the film. Rather, Sanjay Dutt often cries in the film, something which his fans would least expect him to do because of his rough-and-tough image. Nargis Fakhri is ordinary. Her anglicised pronunciations are a bit jarring. Rahul Dev goes through the character of Qazar decently but there’s nothing which stands out in his performance. Aishan Jawaid Malik shines as child Baaz. He looks very cute and innocent too. Mohammed Khairkhah is impressive in the role of Bakht. Hamid Shafi does a fine job as Khosh Bakht. Rudra Soni (as Gulab) and Rehan Shaikh (as Sadiq) lend decent support. Kanha (as Imlal) has screen presence. Gavie Chahal looks handsome and makes his presence felt in a brief role as the cricket coach of the Academy. Rahul Mittra (as army officer Col. Khan) leaves a mark. Priyanka Verma is alright as Meera. Kuwaarjeet Chopra (as Habibullah), Babrak Akbari (as Babrak Akbari), Tapajyoti Sarkar (as Ali Sher), Ballu Panchal (as Wahid), Wahib Kapadia (as Khoda Baksh), Nasiha Khanna (as Asma), Rockey Raina (as Abdullah), Raaj Singh Arora (as Billu), Humayoon Shams Khan (as Major Humayoon Shams Khan), Mu’azzam Bhat (as Obaid), Dr. Yakub Sayed (as Dost Mohd.), Jay Patel (as Meharban), Nira Suarez (as Baaz’s mother), Preet Bhanushali (as Aryan), Nivaan Modi (as little Baaz), Pratyaksh Sehdev Panwar (as little Khosh Bakht), Mohd. Haq Peer Khan (as Niaz), Soham Mahat (as Omar), and the rest provide routine support.

Girish Malik’s direction is fair but it makes the film look like a docu-drama. The pace of the narration is also very slow. Music (Vikram Montrose and Bickram Ghosh) is okay. The music is more functional than anything else. It is more suited for a festival film. Bickram Ghosh’s background music is effective. Cinematography (Hiroo Keswani) is appealing. Javed Karim’s action and stunts are okay. Production designing (by Orozbay Absattarov) is fair. Dilip Deo’s editing (with additional editing by Protim Khaound) is appropriate but having said that, it must be added that the film’s inherent pace is excruciatingly slow for a commercial film.

On the whole, Torbaaz is a dull fare and will not find too many takers. Had it been released in cinemas, it would have done poor business because it lacks commercial ingredients.

Released on 11-12-’20 on Netflix.