Review: "Kehte hain dushman ko maaf kar dena chahiye, lekin use tadpa tadpa ke maarne ke baad". This dialogue pretty much sums up the motif of Badlapur, a kind of slow torture which Raghu (played by Varun Dhawan) adopts to avenge his family's death. Without wasting time, Sriram sets the stage for a thriller by straightaway plunging into the main story with a nicely shot opening sequence, leading to events which devastate Raghu's life forever. Clearly, this is no whodunit case and Sriram, instead, seems interested to focus on the emotional trauma and difficulties a man has to grapple with after suffering such a huge loss.
Badlapur is undoubtedly Sriram's darkest and boldest film, be it in terms of characterisation or story. His intuitively written characters have different shades to them, each holding pretentious motives. As a result, the biggest strength of the film lies in its unpredictability. You'll find yourself guessing what could happen next till the end. For me, the thing that stood apart was the little detailing of every scene. Like the scattered toys in the house which Raghu notices after his child's death or the scenes of Nawaz's foiled attempts to escape from prison, just to name a few. Now having extolled the film for its strengths, I must admit that it isn't an easy watch. A few obnoxious scenes do stick out as a sore thumb, and even as the screenplay drags on a few occasions one may not completely agree with Raghu's idea of revenge.
What makes badlapur consistently watchable, though, is its principal cast. In a complete transformation from his chocolate boy image to a man brooding with anger to bring the perpetrators to book, Varun Dhawan delivers his most mature and balanced performance as yet. Portraying a more complex role, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is in fine form too. He adds these little touches to his character which make it so endearing to watch.
I'm going with 3/5 for Badlapur. It's a brave, assuredly directed film but one that somewhere lacks the required intensity to qualify as an edge-of-a-seat thriller. As of now, Ek Hasina Thi & Johnny gaddar still remain the director's best works.