I watched Badlapur with bated breath. Did not know what to expect having never watched a Varun Dhawan movie before and a Nawazuddin Siddiqui in action. I find it a darkly, intense gripping movie with a whole lot of surprises for me. It has a very racy plot, slow and fast in turns; switching between present and the past. Music is good. Cinematography is great. The atmosphere is taut throughout. A film set in reality.
Very impressive performances by the entire team who acted quite in concert. Of course, the protagonists Liak and Raghu are excellently enacted and their characters are thrown into perspective. The contrast between the educated person who loses his balance in the face of tragedy and descends to a nightmarish low is contrasted with that of the accidental murderer-robber who does not lose his humanity in the hell through which he has undergone. Raghu’s subsequent metamorphosis into a violent, heartless killer douses all sympathy for him as the consequence of the tragedy is seen in his entire psychological machinery and cleverness on the overdrive leading to subtly devilish planning and psychological torture to avenge the suffering and the loss he received, by causing even more devastation and losses to others.
One of the realisations that Indian cinema is coming of age and can throw up surprises in a general atmosphere of substandard-stuff being produced in the name of entertainment. This is dark, brooding, violent, subtle, psychological, a little fearful, tense moments, tension everywhere from start to end and yet there are moments of sunshine, hopefulness, human feelings, love and passion interwoven.
There is the drastic transformation of Varun Dhawan from the bubbly fulfilled young man with a successful career and a wonderful family to a maniacal, revengeful, hero turned villain whose mental balance is overthrown after the death of his family. He manages to keep his devilry and mania under cover; just as any completely insane person would do.
There is the wonderfully natural Nawazuddin, with his nondescript average indian man appearance, with his perfect portrayal of the robber-murderer who is now on terminal decline but who grows in humanity and stature by the end of the film, who impresses one by his truthfulness, straightforwardness and simplicity.
One is left with a question: who is wrong or right? Was the original killer an innocent, whose crime was a result of circumstance and desperation? Was the innocent sufferer a devil in disguise, whose devilry and cold blooded killing instinct came out under adverse conditions? The blacks and whites are distorted and mixed together into a palette of greys.
The one question which troubles me is whether it is possible in real life for a man who has suffered from the loss of his wife and child under sudden and vicious circumstances,to suddenly transform into a misogynist and carry out rapes and sexual usage of women? To take his anger/frustration out at women who are directly or indirectly associated with the cause of the death.