Khuda Haafiz Hindi Movie Review
Director Faruk Kabir's third film 'Khuda Haafiz' works neither as a drama nor as an actioner. What really piqued my curiosity in it is the English accent of characters based in the Middle East. The accent sounds so clumsy that it merely seems like English being spoken with a lisp. The actors who play Noman natives here are all Indians. I bet they would speak Russian in pretty much the same way as they utter English dialogues here - with a stereotypical lisp.
Speaking of the English of the characters, it is worth noting that they all exist in Noman, a country that does not even exist on the map. Joking apart, there is much meat on paper at least. Khuda Haafiz is the story of Sameer (Vidyut Jammwal), a software engineer who goes to this no man's land after his wife is kidnapped by bad guys there.
It is 2008, and the recession has just started making its impact in India. The economic situation renders Sameer and his wife-to-be Nargis (Shivaleeka Oberoi) jobless. So, the couple goes to a travel agent named Nadeem (Vipin Sharma) who tells them that Noman presents big salaries and recession wouldn't even matter there. It turns out Nadeem is seemingly part of a human trafficking racket with ties to the crooked people in Noman.
You know the rest of the story. Nargis goes missing. Sameer goes in search of her. It is just in the law of action movies that the hero overcomes all odds to rescue the heroine. But the biggest issue of the movie is not that it is cliched or predictable. It is that the movie makes its star Vidyut Jammwal do something he is not quite comfortable in doing: act. The makers of 'Khuda Haafiz' should have known that Jammwal's action skills are way better than his acting chops at this point of his career.
Jammwal is unmistakably earnest and he puts all into the role, but the effort shows. The treatment of the movie should have taken his forte (action) into account. For instance, instead of making Jammwal show the vulnerable side to Sameer, they should have shown more of his cool persona. This coolth is just a template that usually works better in an action film, especially one featuring this kind of a hero. Take Jason Statham as Frank Martin in The Transporter series for instance.
Even the character actors are saddled with all too familiar roles here. It would not take a lot for cine-goers to realize that any Vipin Sharma character in this genre is a bad guy. And, that Annu Kapoor is the quintessential Mr Nice Guy. Annu Kapoor is just a taxi driver here, not a lawyer or a bureaucrat. So, what is he doing talking to Noman's cops or other local authorities?
In a movie like this, one is really searching for redeeming qualities. Sure, there are some nice songs in the movie, and some of the action sequences are serviceable enough. But the best moments in Khuda Haafiz are so unintentionally funny that I wished the movie had more of these. One of these is a conversation between Shiv Panditt's Faiz Abu Malik and Jammwal's Sameer. Panditt, an Indian actor, speaks his version of the English as stereotypically as it comes in movies. I know I have harped on about the film's use of the accent in this review. For once, at least, it brought a smile to my face.