Aiyaary: Where is the Old Neeraj Pandey?

The film is a huge disappointment says our reviewer
Aiyaary: Where is the Old Neeraj Pandey?

Director- Neeraj Pandey

Starring- Intense Eyes and Pretty Boy

Aiyaary proves that information on Wikipedia is not always right. The film is described there as a political thriller. If dozing off is thrilling in any part of the world, then, Aiyaary, hell scores in that department. Aiyaary is your typical Neeraj Pandey film; some secret mission, some secret team, some Indian Army jargon, some corruption, some crisis beyond a point, you don’t care. This time the only difference is that there is a clash of ideologies within the covert group of the Indian Army called DSD.

Abhay Singh played brilliantly by Manoj-Intense-Eyes-Bajpayee heads the group and is ready to tyag his jaan and all things patriotic for Bharat mata, even when the army decides to cut them loose in moments of crisis. His junior Jai Singh (Sidharth-Pretty-Boy-Malhotra) is practical and feels the government doesn’t deserve him. They are at loggerheads and we are bored of ours! Phew. There are missions after missions after missions. I understand its importance in espionage but you can’t be establishing characters in the second half of the movie. The whole episode of Cheru with Intense Eyes and Pretty Boy seemed forced and unnecessarily lengthened the movie. Also the screenplay of the film is a bit tricky. It changes time and place faster than Indian politicians change parties. In fact there is a flashback in a flashback! Some of the sequences are long and boring. The climatic revelation of Naseer’s story that involves a dying dog in Colaba is sleep inducing. The build-up rather plummets to a slow, boring denouement that’s done rather hastily.

Neeraj Pandey’s films, thus far, engaged you and made you question your own moral compass. A Wednesday made us root for a crime and hence check our own values. That’s how strongly the movie gripped us, engaged us. Special 26 also made heroes out of shrewd robbers and it was done so brilliantly that you felt ashamed cheering for them. Aiyaary doesn’t echo any of our angry sentiments towards the system or the politicians. It somehow gives us a glimpse of top level corruption but soon makes us lose interest with its far-too-long chase sequences and lack of any plot. It’s a pity that a film wastes talents like Manoj Bajpayee, Naseerudin Shah and Anupam Kher. At least it offered them a free trip to London. Oh blimey!!

And then there is our Pretty Boy. Hats off to Sidharth Malhotra for choosing different roles and being really earnest in making the attempt but he needs to feel and own his lines. I was just thinking what could be worse than having Sidharth and Fawad in the same frame? Well having Sidharth and Manoj Bajpayee in the same frame. Ha! Though I must say Sidharth Malhotra makes the prettiest blonde ever!

The film also packs in some not-so-clever brand placements. The ones who paid were given some screen space like flipkart, the rest were twisted. HSBC became HBSC.

Dear Neeraj Pandey, I sincerely loved A Wednesday. Hope to see that magic soon again.

-- Lokesh Dharmani

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