Sadak 2 Hindi Movie Review
There is a scene in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Sadak 2' where Sanjay Dutt's Ravi Verma beats up some baddies and then tells an owl to deal with one of them. The owl even has a name, Kumbhkaran, and it seems as if it flew straight from an old Hindi movie into the set of Sadak 2. It is unintentionally funny. Mahesh Bhatt's movie is named like it is a sequel to the 1991 Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt starrer, Sadak. I have not seen Sadak. Now that I have seen Sadak 2, I figure that viewing it is not compulsory to understand this ludicrous movie streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
The movie starts with Alia Bhatt's 20-year-old Aarya burning down a big printed installation of a godman. Her father and stepmother arrive at the spot, and they put her in a hospital by claiming that she is mentally unsound. She then escapes the facility and goes rogue only to reach Dutt's Ravi Varma, a grown-up taxi driver who has gone suicidal after the death of his wife Pooja. It turns out Bhatt's character made a booking to Kailash from the travel agency of Pooja (Pooja Bhatt). Aarya convinces Verma that he should help her visit Kailash to respect his wife's last booking so that she could also meet her mother's last wish. The trip does not go down just like they want, with unexpected forces jeopardizing their whole plan. The rest of the movie is about how they overcome the situation.
Sadak 2 seems like a title inspired from the fact that almost every character is on a life crossroad when they meet each other. The same applies to Aditya Roy Kapoor's Vishal, the lover of Aarya.
Suhrita Sengupta and Mahesh Bhatt are the writers of Sadak 2, but the movie has little in the way of a special plot or characterization. None of the characters is properly fleshed out. Worse even, there is a half-hearted attempt at worldbuilding. The portions involving Makarand Deshpande's godman named Guruji and Jisshu Sengupta's Yogesh Desai all play out as sequences from a bad TV serial episode.
Thankfully, some of the actors perform in a way that they realize that they are in a nearly totaled vehicle or sinking ship. Jisshu Sengupta is a wonderful actor, who mainly does films in Bengali, and he hams it up so well. Whether it is about mouthing ludicrous dialogues, emoting scenes or beating up someone, Sengupta is up to the task. And, more importantly, he does it all without pretending that whatever he is doing will fetch him a big award nomination or something.
Sanjay Dutt is earnest in Sadak 2 and sometimes serious to a fault. Here he is, in his early sixties, playing a man who has just lost his wife and who seems to have some psychic power to communicate with her. That power is called clairvoyance, and there are several moments in Sadak 2 where you almost feel urged enough to go along with Verma's unusual behavior.
Dutt is a powerful performer, but he is let down by a shoddy script. He seems to admire and respect his co-stars, Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapoor, and this helps in building an amiable onscreen relationship between them. As for Bhatt and Kapoor, they make for a nice pair, but there is little one can do when the script is such a bummer except, maybe, to act accordingly. The next time they do a movie, perhaps they would be better off taking a leaf out of Sengupta's book.