Kareen Dsouza watched Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee's latest film and lived to tell the tale

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Starcast: Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee and Rakul Preet Singh 

Rating- 1.75 stars (-0.25 because I happened to watch it at a press screening held on Valentine’s Day).



The ultimate trickery by a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others
Kuch logo ka seedhapan hai, kuch apni Aiyaary hai!

A potentially gripping story that revolves around the relationship between a mentor and his protégé, Aiyaary is director Neeraj Pandey’s sincere attempt to portray corruption in India. Being a master of this genre, one look at the trailer and you can’t help but think of his explosive 2008 release, A Wednesday, and his love for subjects based on real-life incidents. Aiyaary aims to be no different, but if you are going in with expectations that it will be another A Wednesday, Special 26 or Baby, be prepared: this film falls short with a half-baked story-line and weak characters.

The espionage thriller is modeled around two strong-minded army officers from a secret military intelligence special unit who have varying viewpoints on serving the country. It is this clash that forms the crux of the story. Colonel Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) is a duty-bound officer who is trusted with a challenging mission from the minister and the army general. His character is shown as being both cold-blooded when fulfilling his duty and loving when at home with his family - which is rather endearing. The realness in Abhay Singh’s character portrayed beautifully by Manoj Bajpayee is what kept me from leaving the cinema post interval.

The story picks momentum in the second half when the two patriotic officers have a fallout, with Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) going rogue, and deciding to revolt against the corrupt system. He is supported in his lone mission by his girlfriend Sonia Gupta, played by Rakul Preet Singh, whose only purpose in the film is to be Jai’s girlfriend (how typical!).

A main element that is missing in the film is continuity. While I tried to connect one scene to another, I found myself puzzled at various intervals, with over a thousand questions coming to mind. Why did Abhay let Jai go once he was found? Why did Jai let the villain, Mukesh Kapoor (played brilliantly by Adil Hussain), go when he finally got hold of him? What was the need of bringing Nasseruddin Shah’s character, Baburao Shastri, into the picture? Yes, you heard it right, Naseer is part of the film too, with a total of 10 minutes to his credit, holding on to a secret which according to me was irrelevant to the story itself.

The one thing I look forward to while watching a Neeraj Pandey film is thrill. However, this one left me sitting at the edge of my seat restlessly waiting to gasp. A classic example of a well-intentioned film that isn’t well executed! Watch this one only for honest performances and Sidharth Malhotra’s jaw-dropping good looks.