(Movie Review) Every major character has a fabulously inviting introduction, one that makes us in the audience want to know more about them, as the tightly-wound script progresses in hurling but balanced tones. Who are these interesting people? Why, in the film’s heart0stopping preamble, does Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) do what he does? His action (can’t reveal what it is) triggers off a chain of events that can only be described as providential.
Farhan’s Danish is an intriguing bundle of contradictions: nervous yet valorous, rebellious yet defeated by a tragedy that defines his life for the entire film. It’s what Varun Dhawan went though in Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur but only far more devastating in its ramifications. Even as we try to understand the workings of Danish’s mind, the script is always ahead of us and also introduces us to the spirited paraplegic Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan). From his first moment on screen, he takes possession of his character as only he can. We first see him surrounded with intelligent little children who he teaches how to play chess.
The game of shatranj (chess) is used to shut away the ranj(grief). A lot of the dialogues on life’s vagaries expectantly use chess metaphors. But dialogue writer Abhijeet Deshpande never goes over the chess board. The grief stricken characters speak as though life has taught them to be wiser than they would sound otherwise. Mr Bachchan’s words on how an individual’s grief can affect those around the bereaved are most inspiring. In no time at all, Farhan’s Danish and Bachchan’s Panditji become the unlikeliest of friends. Bonded as they are by their shared anguish, the two souls become one in their unendurable pain.
Wazir has three heroes. Bachchan and Akhtar, of course, who are so effective individually and together that we wonder why they haven’t been cast together before. But the third and bigger hero of Wazir is the deviously clever script. Written by producer Vinod Chopra, along with Abhijat Joshi (of Munnabhai fame), this is quite comfortably the best emotional thriller from Bollywood in years. Our heart never stops leaping into our mouths at the twists and turns that the characters encounter in their journey towards an apocalyptic finale. The narrative displays the kind of fluent unpredictable and original writing that we would like to see more often in Hindi cinema.