Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
India release date: March 8, 2019
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Duration: 1 hour, 58 mins
“Dead men quell no tales. You cannot defame the dead, and they aren’t around to disagree. Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla features a slick, relentlessly twisty cat-and-mouse game played with both cat and mouse sitting in the same room, strategising across a table.”
“Frequently invokes ideas and dictums from the Mahabharata. A genre film is thus turned into a cinematic treatise on crime and punishment, culpability and vengeance… A crime thriller that lifts itself out of the limitations of the form by spotlighting questions of guilt and retribution without diluting its edgy quality.”
“Pay attention to the details. The answer is in the details,” Amitabh Bachchan says over and over again to Taapsee Pannu in Badla, a lawyer imploring his client to look closer and harder at what’s in front of them in order to spot the clue that could prove her innocence. Frankly, it’s good advice for the viewers too who’re seeking to solve the suspense in this twisty thriller. Just look really close; it’s right there.”
“Lies, in fact, are central to Badla. Lies that we tell others, lies that others tell us but, more importantly, lies that we tell ourselves… In the absence of substantial information, we are left at the mercy of the filmmaker, who holds all the strings to this puppet show. This crucial withholding of clues does make Badla intriguing – especially given that we’re fumbling in the dark all the time, desperate for any lit trail – but this approach can also be convenient and unfair, seemingly designed to mask the filmmaking flaws.”
“Badla! What a devious little title. Both an anagram and a pun, it fits the suspenseful soul of Sujoy Ghosh’s languid thriller to the T… Wears the air of a cold, civil, old-fashioned whodunit, which treats its premise like an insidious game and characters with undisguised suspicion.”
“Contratiempo and Badla belong to the sub-genre of thrillers where the viewer hears several versions of the truth narrated by various people, some who have credibility because they were present at the site and some who may not necessarily have been there. If you are listening and watching carefully enough, you may spot at least two gaping loopholes much before the big reveal. This is a fault of the written material by Paulo, not Ghosh’s direction or the acting. For instance, the story is pivoted on the extreme and uncharacteristic inefficiency of one of the individuals involved, and calls for considerable suspension of disbelief from anyone who notices this flaw.”
“Uses suspense as more of a ruse than a device. It thrives on creating an illusion that the narrative is constantly one step ahead of the audience when it actually isn’t… This, too, is an art – the art of making something feel smarter than it is. To make anti-climactic mountains out of molehills; heaven knows this is the very definition of storytelling.”
“Largely a verbose drama, centred around fanciful conversations… The picture is not exactly rosy here. For one the style of narration is terribly boring. There’s neither tension nor empathy in the telling.”
"The intertwining of the objective and the subjective in the telling of a series of events that no one alive, except the narrator, has actually seen, is an interesting idea and keeps you watching... It is a post mortem perspective, a play within a play, a mousetrap, towards which, oddly enough, the defence attorney does not show much of his usual skepticism. "
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