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NAAM SHABANA - It makes you feel sorry for the talented Tapsee who had to blindly trust the big names behind such unexpectedly mediocre conception of a potential idea. (Review By Bobby Sing)
31 Mar, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / N

Just one scene, spiritedly fighting a terrorist in the hotel room of Kathmandu in her film BABY got applauded by almost every viewer and reviewer back in 2015, and the makers interestingly thought of coming up with a spin-off, focusing on the much appreciated character in the form of NAAM SHABANA. A great potential idea indeed for both Tapsee Pannu (as the lead) and the viewers expecting an action packed, exciting thriller from the team led by Neeraj Pandey. But I wish it was made with an equal amount of dedication too as their earlier well-presented and focused BABY.

In fact its quite sad and shameful that a film having such a promising premise turns out to be so shoddily written and directed, despite all the big names associated with its making known for their earlier good work together.

Presented as the first Spin-Off movie of Hindi Cinema (the films conceived around the famous characters taken from the previous hit films), actually we have already seen that much before in the past, for instance SOORMA BHOPALI in the 80s. But keeping this intriguing subject for another detailed write-up at BTC, NAAM SHABANA can easily be called as a different and unique mix of a spin-off and prequel together smartly relating it with the proceedings and key characters of BABY.

Unfortunately as a thriller, NAAM SHABANA is never able to hold your attention well right from its lazy start and the uninspiring first half moving at a boring, slow pace spending too much time on the build-up missing the expected thrills. In the second half too it never comes up with any edge of the seat kind of entertainment wasting all talented actors in its cast unable to make their presence felt. Moreover logic goes for a toss uncountable times in the film resulting in a big disappointment and one begins doubting on the very purpose behind its making which just seems to be money making alone encashing the earlier success without giving much thought to its conception, writing or making by the otherwise talented team.

Looking at the direction, if you take into account the previous films directed by Shivam Nair, then they all had interesting basic ideas which couldn’t result in any big success ever due to their own shortcomings. However the fact that NAAM SHABANA has been written, and scripted with dialogues too by Neeraj Pandey himself, truly hits you with surprise as the final outcome is so childish and laughable completely in contrast with the reputation earned by the writer-director post his debut masterpiece A WEDNESDAY.

Honestly speaking I have never seen Manoj Bajpayee rendering such silly dialogues with a funny, supreme conviction ever before on the screen in his entire career.

(Spoliers Ahead)
To give you an idea, after knowing that the RAW agents have been following her right from the start, Tapsee asks Manoj (RAW Officer) that, “If you were always watching and following me then couldn’t you save us from that clash with the drunk boys and my friend bleeding and dying on the road on that awful night?”

“Yes, we could have stopped that murder, but then you were not a part of us that time and we really look after our people well” says Manoj in his answer and I really couldn’t figure out what kind of absurd logic was that?

Next when she asks that, “Are you choosing me because of my religion?”……, the answer comes… “Your religion is like a PERK for us” ….. the second ugly bouncer from the talented writer.

And then another dialogue says, “Women are born to be spies.” ………. making a new revelation with an amazing confidence.

Actually the problem with NAAM SHABANA is that the film tries to crack a novel potential idea with nothing new in its writing, execution or presentation in a very casual manner (similar plots can be seen in many of the recent films). The proceedings remain plain predictable right from the start and then it cruelly goes on wasting talented performers such as Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Prithviraj (strangely called in from the South) and even Akshay Kumar, in a cameo good for nothing. The supporting cast fails to add anything substantial despite the presence of veterans such as Virendra Saxena. Besides the background music keeps trying to present it as something truly exciting (in vain). And the over length acts as the last nail in the coffin coming up with a too weak and lackluster climax, contradicting its own build-up of an exceptional fighter training given to Tapsee, looking too weak and ordinary fighting in the hospital scene.

Following the current trend, here we have another hit song of the past literally killed as “Mere Dil Gaye Ja...Zooby Zooby Zooby Zooby” along with a few other unwanted songs inserted as usual in an otherwise projected tensed thriller, whereas the director could have easily used only the much better “Rozaana” in the first half skipping all the others.

In all, NAAM SHABANA partially shines only due to the wholehearted effort put in by Tapsee Pannu, but its still not an entirely spellbinding performance by the actress questionably keeping a similar expression throughout other than the impressive action. Continuing on the same thought, her hotel room fight scene in BABY, can still be easily quoted as much more impactful than the entire NAAM SHABANA to be straight.

In addition, the poorly presented film honestly left me puzzled thinking about the basic mindset behind its making. Because if you have to bring in a macho male hero only in the end to rescue the female lead then what is the use of showing all those sequences of action and hardcore training provided to the girl pointing towards women empowerment.

Rating : 1+1 / 5 (including the additional 1 just for the sincere efforts of Tapsee Pannu)


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31 Mar 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Neel Trivedi

Bobby,
Once again, kudos to you for another well-written and articulated review.
Just a small note, a spin-off, traditionally exists in the same universe as it's predecessor, be it a TV show, a book or a movie.

So by that standard, Soorma Bhopali is actually not a traditional spin-off as there is virtually no mention of Soorma Bhopali's character history in Sholay. Even when Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan make a cameo in the movie, they don't play Jai & Veeru, respectively.

So technically, Naam Shabana is the first spin-off in India in the correct context as Tapsee's character exists in the same universe that the story of Baby took place.
At least that's the way it works in Western entertainment. Maybe the concept of a spin-off is different in India.

Bobby Sing

Dear Neel,
Thanks a lot for your support, kind praises and a valuable comment.

However regarding Spin-Off,
as a more appropriate contender...yes, its right that the character needs to be living in the same surroundings as it predecessor or any other reference material. But in that case it actually remains more close to a sequel or prequel only like in the present case too.

Hence a Spin-Off can be a film when you take the exact character, its get-up, mannerisms, the dialogue delivery style and more, and then take it to a different world or storyline not recalling the related characters of its original film as seen in Soorma Bhopali or Raja Aur Rana and many more.

Hence studying it in a broader sense I would like to divide Spin-Offs in to two categories as
One - when you focus on the particular character keeping it in the same surrounding and related storyline as its predecessor (which actually remains too close to a sequel of prequel)
and
Two - when you focus on a particular character taking into a different storyline altogether facing all new characters..

Would give more instances of these in a separate detailed write-up but thanks a lot for making me think with much more clarity after your detailed guiding comment as always.

Cheers!

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