Directed by: Shivam Nair
Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu)
Ranvir Singh (Manoj Bajpayee)
Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar)
Shuklaji (Anupam Kher)
Feroz Ali Khan (Danny)
Paisa Vasooli: 2.5 / 5
A brilliant idea victimised by an undercooked screenplay and lousy direction – that’s Naam Shabana.The immense possibilities of developing a spinoff by fleshing out an enigmatic character from a successful thriller have come to a crashing halt with this film which lacks depth and serious research.
Plot:The Agency hires a promising recruit and trains her to take on a dangerous mission all by herself.
Yes, the plot sounds cool and sassy. If only Shivam Nair had polished his execution skills before helming this thriller. His obsessive focus on his lead makes him commit the culpable crime of treating the extras as mere extras. He overlooks the shoddy show put up by the extras and expects his audience to do the same. A thriller is made exemplary not only by its main characters but also by its supporting cast who equally share the onus of making the situations of struggle, panic, confusion and anxiety as real as possible. Sadly, nothing of that sort happens in this film and Shabana’s feats appear hollow in the wake of dull adversaries. The complexity and urgency which made Baby a smashing hit is clearly missing in Naam Shabana. Here, the lead doesn’t get to break a sweat to resolve matters of National Security. If Baby was an intriguing maze, Naam Shabana is an easy-peasy straight track with not even one insurmountable task.
Taapsee invests herself completely into the role but is let down by her director. She tries each and every trick up her sleeve and appears quite convincing as Shabana. She is spirited, energetic, agile and lends herself to every stunt of hers with an admirable dedication which is commendable and rarely seen in Hindi Cinema. Sadly, her earnest hard work falls short of lifting the film to the level of a nail-biting thriller because Nair lets the other threads to this yarn quite loose. And, when the time comes to catch hold of it and give it a final form, he fumbles and hurries his way to the climax leaving behind a trail of laughable and unconvincing moments.
Manoj Bajpayee and Akshay Kumar put forward a dedicated show despite being second fiddles and keep the interest alive. They are the masters of their game and it reflects here as well. Prithviraj does an okay job but resorts a bit too much to his trademark smirk and gives way to annoyance.
Shivam tries to exploit the nostalgia of Baby by gingerly sneaking memorable traits and moments from it but all of it appears extremely staged and fails to serve the purpose except for a few forced laughs. Simply put, Naam Shabana fails to capitalise on the success and charm of Baby and wastes an extremely viable opportunity.
VERDICT:Naam Shabana is a typical case of “over-expectation-and-under-delivery”. As a spinoff, it disappoints us as well as its parent.
A postgraduate from Symbiosis University & a digital marketing consultant, he loves being sarcastic as it's extremely healthy for the mind & adds up to 3 years to life as well. Cinema is to him what oxygen is to people. A voracious reader who never tolerates anything negative about Matthew Mcconaughey & Govinda.