'Badla' Movie Review: Amitabh Bachchan shines in Sujoy Ghosh's engaging whodunit

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, Badla is an official remake of a Spanish film titled The Invisible Guest. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu in the lead roles, marking their reunion after Pink. Badla costars Amrita Singh, Tanveer Ghani, and Tony Luke. The film is produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and Azure Entertainment.

Badla revolves around a successful businesswoman named Naina Sethi (played by Taapsee) who is accused of murdering her lover. The character of her high profile lawyer Badal Gupta who has never lost a case in his 40 year illustrious career is essayed by Amitabh Bachchan. While Naina is out on bail, she sees Gupta, who is personally recommended by her trusted lawyer friend, at her home as she can't afford to lose the case. Gupta is a master at preparing witnesses but his only condition is that he must know the whole truth as only then will he be able to put up a strong defense in the court. Since this is going to be the last case of his career he doesn’t want to take any risks. At first Naina tries to fool him by guarding some truth surrounding the murder and the events leading to it but when Gupta threatens to leave her case she is not left with any other option but to reveal her darkest secrets to her. Will Naina be able to convince Gupta to fight her case? Badla tries to address this and more as we are transported to a duplicitous world inhabited by opportunists and liars.

In 2019 Amitabh Bachchan completes 50 years in cinema and in Badla he reminds us again why he is rated so highly even 5 decades after starting his acting journey back in 1969. While Taapsee Pannu is good, it is undoubtedly Amitabh Bachchan who makes Badla so engaging. His lawyer character hardly ever steps out of the room during the movie and yet Bachchan essays it so brilliantly that it will stay with you long after the end credits stop rolling. Yes, it is a well written character but a lesser actor would have had a tough time playing it with such conviction. Credit also goes to Sujoy Ghosh for effectively employing a Rashomon-like narrative. Do you remember Kahaani? How well Ghosh had succeeded in sustaining the mystery till the very end. In Badla he is almost there as far as keeping the mystery is concerned but somewhere he fails to match the brilliance of Kahaani. Perhaps, a couple of better casting choices and slightly tighter writing could have made the difference. Also, the role of the city (in this case Glasgow, Scotland) pales in comparison to the manner in which he had used Kolkata. But it is certainly a return to form after a pretty dismal Kahaani 2. 

But despite the fact that the film is flawed it can be enjoyed because of the detailing and the logical brilliance that is rarely seen in Hindi films. Yes, this is an official remake of a Spanish film but it is not a bad one. If you like murder mysteries with cold, ominous setting then this one will not disappoint you.

Rating: 7/10

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Badla - Official Trailer (YouTube)

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