I have not seen The Invisible Guest even after knowing that Badla directed by Sujoy Ghosh is an official remake of this 2017 Spanish film. I wanted to go in without any clue of what will unravel and from that point, this Amitabh Bachchan Taapsee Pannu starrer is indeed an engaging thriller. With the major characters of the movie getting portrayed by two really solid actors, Badla does manage to keep you on the edge of your seats.
So Naina Sethi, a well-established businesswoman in the UK is now trapped in a murder case of killing her alleged boyfriend. The circumstances are totally against Naina and with the help of her lawyer friend Jimmy she hires one top lawyer who has a 100% track record; Badal Gupta. The movie Badla basically shows us the first sitting between Naina and Badal and how he comes up with a solution.
Sujoy Ghosh has got that knack to present these dark suspense thrillers with an element of curiosity lingering on every frame of the movie and you can clearly see that in Badla as well. A majority of the movie is between this single room dialogue between Mr. Bachchan and Taapsee and, Ghosh keeps it really close to a real conversation even though the film has this – SPOILER ALERT- mission impossible universe climax. Sujoy Ghosh kind of knows how ambitious that climax looks and to justify that or to nullify the possible lack of conviction in that department he makes sure he gives the audience a convincing debate involving two cunning people. And because of the cat and mouse game, you see in that part of the movie, you sort of forgive the logical flaws one could sense in the climactic act.
Amitabh Bachchan looks more on the energetic side here and he isn’t a brooding advocate. The way he asks Naina to stay close to facts and be less emotional about her narration had the finesse of an expert and focused lawyer. Taapsee Pannu is also very convincing as this cunning business woman and she manages to play with the duality of the character effortlessly. Amrita Singh was pretty good as the determined Rani. Tony Luke (who was previously seen in movies like Sakhavu and 9) was also fine as Arjun; the lover of Naina.
Sujoy Ghosh sets the mood of the movie very smartly. Very soon into the conversation between Naina and Badal, you can sense the fact that the battle isn’t really going to happen inside the court. The script manages to drift away from some of the predictions you may make about the characters and that helps the movie in being gripping. I really loved the way Badal occasionally interrupted Naina when she starts to talk stuff that isn’t easy to buy. And in one scene when Badal questions the logic of a bank account hacking, the reply Naina gives was in a way a smart dig at the typical thriller making pattern. The mostly tight frames maintain the intrigue. The cuts are pretty accurate in giving us the tensed ambiance. The only major problematic thing for me was the climax where one part of my brain was appreciating the revenge aspect of it and the other part was like haven’t they pushed the cinematic liberty way too much? The background score here spices up the intensity of the situation.
Badla has really good performances and a smart and gripping screenplay to its credit. The layered structure of the screenplay and the impressive way of unfolding the mysteries in the narrative makes it an interesting watch even after the climax
The layered structure of the screenplay and the impressive way of unfolding the mysteries in the narrative makes it an interesting watch even after the climax being a little too much.