Baabarr Hindi Movie Review
It's a brutal world out there. Welcome to the killing fields of Lucknow. The paths and alleys are bathed in blood. The roads are strewn with corpses. It's almost as if the city has no respite from violence.
"Baabarr" is arguably one of the most violent films ever made in Hindi. It inhabits a world where the characters live in crusty brick lanes, homes that have seen more slaying and slaughtering than the butcher shops where some of director Trikha's characters work.
Full marks to the director, art director Jayant Deshmukh and cinematographer Suhass Gujarathi for giving the work a gritty, edgy lived-in feeling. From the first frame onwards, Trikha goes for the corkscrew effect. The tension is unpretentiously relentless and real.
Once we enter this doomed world, there's no way out. Writer Ikram Akhtar gets substantial help from action director Abbas Ali Moghul in giving the characters their sense of adrift despair.
The characters never sit back to watch their own damned lives. They are either running from or chasing their adversaries. The world of the normal is given the slip, as we slip and slide into kingdom of the doomed and the damned.
The protagonist Baabarr's life is chronicled in no particular scheme except the one that occurs naturally to the character's destiny. There's a ruthlessly rigorous rhythm to the narration, somewhat like a Ram Gopal Varma film.
In fact there's a reference to Varma's "Satya" towards the end when the hero dismisses it as "just a film" when in fact his own life replicates the story of gangsterism in "Satya" with far more brutal candour.
But the greatest virtue of "Baabarr" is also its undoing. The world that Trika creates is too devoid of the soft moments and too violent and barbaric to be accepted as entertainment.
The performances match the mood of heightened anxiety. Om Puri as a cheesy, side-changing cop and Sushant Singh as the protagonist's arch-enemy blend with the fiercely bloody fabric of storytelling.
Tinu Anand has one outstanding sequence where he tries to stop the protagonist from killing him through emotional blackmail.
Newcomer Sohum Shah gets bravely into the sanguinary act. However the soundtrack is ear-splitting. Does violence have to be so noisy?