A premature ‘BABY’


Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Kay Kay Menon, Rasheed Naz

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Rating: ***

Terrorism has no religion. Neeraj Pandey displayed that conclusively in his maiden directorial ‘A Wednesday’, a tale of how a common man, sick of Islamic terrorism, decided to take law into his own hands. This fight against terror reaches a new peak in ‘BABY’ with Pandey orchestrating a master plan to execute India’s most wanted terrorists.

Now for a nation that’s been starved of Bond-like thrillers, BABY is here to satiate your appetite. Though Pandey draws inspiration from films like Argo, D-Day, Zero Dark Thirty, Baby still has its own tale to tell.

Secret agent Ajay (Akshay Kumar), aided by fellow agents Shukla (Anupam Kher) and Jai (Rana Daggubati) and under command from Firoze Ali Khan (Danny Denzongpa), is sent on a covert operation to kill the dreaded terrorist Bilal (Kay Kay Menon) who’s escaped from a Mumbai jail, abetted  by Maulana Mohammad Saeed Rehman (Rasheed Naz).

It’s a no-brainer that Naz’s character is heavily inspired by Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. That was enough for the film to be banned in Pakistan.

After a rather clumsy opening hour, Baby gets down to business as Ajay and his team travel from Nepal to Saudi Arabia to hunt down their targets. The riveting action, thrill, coupled with some unexpected gains, make it for a fascinating climax that surely will make you cheer in your seats.

While Akhay Kumar doesn’t produce the same magic as he did with Pandey’s last film, Special 26, Baby is a further proof that the actor, known for his mindless entertainers, is now turning a new leaf in his  career.

Save for his terrible wig, Anupam Kher excels in his third successive film with Pandey. Taapsee Panu shows her martial arts skills in her brief role, while Kay Kay Menon is his usual self – brilliant. Seasoned actor Danny Denzongpa redeems himself with a authoritative performance as the head of the special task force, titled Baby. This role will surely help us forget his last few blunders.

Special praise though must be harped on the film’s Pakistani actors, Raasheed Naz and Mikaal Zulfiqar for they were brave enough to act in an Indian film that’s likely to irk their fans and nation. Naz looks menacing as Maulana Mohammad Rehman, and Bollywood has found a gem from across the border.

Despite it influences, Baby marks a new chapter in our action flicks. One just hopes that other filmmakers, too, take a leaf out of Neeraj Pandey’s book.

Now, my only, and the chief problem, with Baby that this is yet another film that dares to dream big, but sadly, the reality is exactly the opposite. Nikhil Advani did that with D-Day as he tried hunting Dawood Ibrahim, while Pandey has now entrapped Hafiz Saeed on the silver screen. While no one doubts their patriotism, but one should look at the larger picture before touching such subjects.

What is the point in nailing a dreaded terrorist on the silver screen, when in reality, these men are way out of our reach. Such films only give a chance to the terrorist to mock at us. This is like showing us a false dream, evoking feint hopes among terror victims.

Now compare us to Hollywood. They depict real life success stories. An Argo wouldn’t have been made had the Americans failed in their effort to rescue the hostages in Iran. A Zero Dark Thirty wouldn’t have been made had US failed to kill Osama Bin Laden. There’ll be no American Sniper had Chris Kyle not taken down those dangerous militants in Fallujah. So, as Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim roam free today, the true Indian patriot would pose few questions to Neeraj Pandey,

“Why are you selling a fake dream?”

“What are you gaining by presenting a fake picture?”

“Why let the enemy mock at us?”

“Do we  have to resign to the fact that our enemies can only be nailed in the movies?”

As a director, Pandey does have the creative liberty to give birth to any idea, but in this case, it looks like that he’s pulled the trigger early. Immature wouldn’t be appropriate, I call it a ‘premature Baby’.

A film like Baby make you think whether Bollywood cannot win an Oscar, but this Baby can slay our enemies. Now is that criticism?


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