Baabarr

Babar

Cast: Sohum Shah, Sushant Singh, Om Puri, Mithun Chakraborty, Mukesh Tiwari, Tinnu Anand

Director: Ashu Trikha

Rating: **

Twelve year old Baabarr picks up a gun and takes a life. He does that because that's what his young life has propelled him towardsóbloodshed and killing.

That little fellow with burning eyes grows up into a fearless contract killer. Baabarr (Sohum) and his fellow travelers live in Lucknow, not Mumbai. So the argot is Awadhi-mixed-with-Urdu, not `tapori', and the setting is the `gallis' of Amanganj, not Dharavi. But it's basically your standard gangsta flick, pitting one home-made `katta' against another, leaving the worst man standing.

Ashu Trikha, who's done 'Deewanapan' and a couple of others before this, has a thing for blood. He lets it flow freely. Animal carcasses and mangled bodies and splashes of scarlet serve only to overwhelm the collection of patriarchal mob bosses, gun-toting underlings, crooked cops and honest officers. And everything gets drowned in the gratuitous violence.

A couple of acts are stand-outs. Om Puri comes up with a crackerjack performance of a policeman with highly developed survival instincts. He tells his superior, who comes galloping into town to 'finish' Baabarr: "sir, promotion nahin hua, par transfer bhi nahin hua" . And you send up a little cheer for one of our best actors. Tinnu Anand, as the goon who can be good, is excellent as always.

So is Govind Namdeo, playing a powerful fixer who picks up a phone and tells his son's soon-to-be father-in-law: "daamaad ji zara MLA ki kursi chaah rahey thhey". The demand, needless to say, is complied with, by his politically heavy-weight `samdhi'.

Everyone else pales in comparison. Mithun is hopelessly miscast as the clean cop: he looks older and slower than he should, for the part. First timer Sohum as Baabarr starts off well, but soon slides into ordinariness, and the experienced Sushant Singh doesn't do anything new.

... contd.

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