Laal Kaptaan, Saif Ali Khan's much-anticipated film grasped the audiences ever since the trailer released. Not only because it promised a cinematic revolution through its unique genre, but also because for the first time Khan was seen in an unusual avatar, donning an elaborate makeup, complete with kohl-lined eyes and a visage smeared with ash (a ritual that he undertakes every time he sets out for a kill). After a year, with expectations of deliverance sky-rocketing, let's find out if the actor's revenge drama is worth a watch!
Director: Navdeep Singh, Zoya Hussain, Sonakshi Sinha, and Manav Vij
Cast: Saif Ali Khan
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Date Released: October 18, 2019
IBFC rating: A
Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Reviewer Rating: 2/5
"Duniya Gol Hai, Jo Kal Hua Woh Phir Kal Hoga, (The world is round, what happened yesterday will happen again tomorrow), are one the first few dialogues of the thriller that are being narrated to instill a sense of curiousness, but just ends up making the viewer feel quite queer. The film is set around 25 years after the Battle of Buxar and revolves around the anarchy the country was going through back then. The constant battle for India was among the three main powerhouses Mughals, Afghans, and the Britishers. With everyone fighting for themselves, with little or no united front, is a lone warrior, queue to Gosain (Saif Ali Khan)- who is a deadly assassin. The one man army strives to avenge his sole enemy, Rehmat Khan (Manav Vij), however, the latter does not just have one enemy but several of them. While Gosain (Saif) battles his way to find Rehmat ( Manav), the Marathas are too looking for him, as Khan has fled his palace in Bundelkhand and is on his way to Awadh after stealing the national treasure.
Rehmat Khan, ( Manav Vij) is the man of the hour. From Gosain ( Saif Ali Khan), the Marathas, to Noorbai ( Sonakshi Sinha) and the hard-to-read widow (Zoya Hussain) everybody is on the lookout for him. Khan apart from being accompanied by his loyal general ( Amir Bashir), along with his Begum (Simone Singh), a new-born child and a widowed woman is on the run from Bundelkhand to Awadh after looting the Marathas of their national treasure, and one by one the mysterious adventures begin to unravel after which the viewer gets a thorough idea of the story behind each and every character, and what binds them all together.
While Saif Ali Khan's unusual avatar is a serious driving force for the audience to watch the film this weekend, by the end of it the audience is just left frustrated. Definitely, it is a unique genre and the makers need to be lauded for attempting it, but it is excessively over-dramatic, over-written and over-ambitious. Other than being unbearably long, the dialogues too fail to leave an impact, which is key for a historical thriller as such. The film is strung wholly on Saif Ali Khan's shoulders and he is probably the only person who bears the brunt. However, the actor has done the best with the role offered to him, delivering it with the utmost honesty and sincerity. Manav Vij as Rehmat Khan is a surprise as he performs the role of a cruel, cunning, warlord like a complete natural. Sonakshi Sinha as Noor Bai leaves you wanting for more, Zoya Hussain as the widower is A-class!
What works: Power-packed performances by the actors
What doesn't work: Unbearably long, overdramatic sequences, disappointing dialogues.
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