Rating: * * * *
By: Keyur Seta
When was the last time Bollywood produced a well-crafted edge-of-the-seat action thriller? It is extremely difficult to answer this question. But director Neeraj Pandey has answered it with Baby and how! He has come up with a hardcore mainstream action flick but at the same time steered away from the usual clichés seen in our films. The last point also forces me to say that Bollywood has finally come up with an action flick of international standards.
Baby revolves around Ajay (Akshay Kumar), who is a top covert intelligence officer of India. He is part of a secret team called Baby, which is formed after the 26/11 attacks. He works under Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Feroze Khan (Danny Denzongpa), with whom he has a great rapport. Ajay gets another feather in his cap when he foils a deadly terrorist attack on Delhi.
But soon, Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon), a terrorist arrested in Mumbai, manages to escape with the help of his group members. He joins his team to help them carry out something very big in India. The mastermind behind all such terror activities is the very dangerous and sinister Maulana Mohammad Rehman (Rashid Naz).
Baby is one of the rarest Hindi films of today’s era which doesn’t allow you to take your eyes off the screen. This is its biggest victory for which the writers deserve high applause for a watertight screenplay and witty dialogues. The unpredictability in the narrative, especially towards the ending moments, also plays a role in making this film way different from the normal action flicks. The climax deserves special mention for the nail-biting experience it provides.
Another reason why Baby stands out is that it keeps all the typical Bollywood clichés and stereotypes away, not only in terms of the narrative but also in terms of character traits. Plus, it doesn’t make a hue and cry about it. For example, the fight scene featuring Taapsee Pannu isn’t presented in a way to show that girls can also rough up men. Everything happens as if it is normal. However, the same isn’t the case with the character of Ajay’s wife.
Other minor drawbacks include the usual action flick errors, especially during few moments in the climax. But such hiccups are understandable for such genre of films and they don’t spoil the fun in any way.
Sudeep Chatterjee’s camerawork is also a major factor in the film rising to such levels. He continues from where he left in Dhoom 3. Apart from a short romantic track, there are no songs. The makers should be lauded for not compromising on this. Specific background tunes create the desired effect. But few sounds shouldn’t have been so loud. The editor too has packaged the product perfectly. Thankfully, the action sequences are believable and not at all over-the-top like we have seen in numerous south remakes.
Lastly, Baby wouldn’t have been what it is without Akshay Kumar’s brilliant act. The Khiladi is in prime form in a role only he could have essayed. This is something he hasn’t played in the last few years despite doing quite a few action flicks. Danny Denzongpa and Kay Kay Menon play their respective characters well.
Rashid Naz highly succeeds in creating terror despite his role not being lengthy. It shows that you don’t need villainous antics if you have perfect expressions and body language. In fact, it is difficult to believe him to be a fictional character. Anupam Kher and Taapse Pannu excel in special roles. Rana Daggubati, Mikaal Zulfikar and others provide good support.
Overall: Baby is a new-age, powerful action flick that impresses you throughout. After A Wednesday and Special 26, Neeraj Pandey reinforces his image as a quality filmmaker. The hype and the final product will make Baby a profitable venture at the box office.
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Shital Bhatia
Writer: Neeraj Pandey
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, Rashid Naz, Anupam Kher, Rana Daggubati, Taapsee Pannu