A mystery-thriller always challenges the filmmaker’s storytelling skills for it takes the audience with it as they too try to solve the mystery. So it’s imperative for the plot not only to have enough solid twists and turns to keep them hooked but also to ensure that the going ons appear plausible. Wazir fails on both grounds. Director Bejoy Nambiar is unable to do much with a predictable and a heavily contrived screenplay (Abhijat Joshi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra) that sees the film badly derailing in the second half after an engrossing enough first half.
Wazir sees Anti-Terrorist Officer, Danish Ali (Farhan), and Wheelchair Bound Chess Instructor, Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan), both coming to terms with the death of their daughters, Noorie and Nina. While Noorie was killed in a shootout when Danish chased a terrorist with her in the vehicle, Nina died having ‘accidentally’ fallen down a flight of stairs. However, Dhar suspects the Welfare Minister Izaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) had something to do with Nina’s death but cannot do anything about it. The two men find themselves bonding in their mutual grief leading to Danish helping Dhar in taking the fight to Qureshi.
In its attempt to combine the thrill element with profundity, Wazir tries to connect the happenings with much-too-obvious metaphors to do with life and chess but fails in having any sort of strategy for itself. Unlike the game it tries to link with, it doesn’t test your great cells enough, you can see its moves way, way ahead – especially its big twists – and the plot is dumbed down and contrived beyond belief in a narrative flow that is pretty dull. Logical loopholes abound. In a key operation in the climax, Farhan is told he has only 30 seconds to do his job, but what follows takes minutes! In fact, for a suspended officer, he moves about pretty freely doing that he wants, even getting Qureshi’s phone tapped. And does the Indian Intelligence with all the resources and technology at its disposal have no knowledge of Qureshi’s past? You also wonder why make Dhar a Kashmiri Pandit if the Kashmir issue was finally so incidental to the plot. Would it have made any difference to the story if he came from some other part of India? I don’t think so.
Still, Amitabh Bachchan has the ability to breathe life into any character he plays and it is he with his ‘words of wisdom’ who gives Wazir most of its watchable moments even if he does get into pleasurable ham territory at times. Farhan Akhtar is just about woodenly okay while Aditi Rao Hydari as Farhan’s wife Ruhana, doesn’t have much to do, the graph of her character pretty much running its course in the opening montage and first action scene at the beginning of the film. Neil Nitin Mukesh reiterates what an embarrassment he is an actor even in his small cameo while John Abraham’s special appearance adds nothing to the film. Manav Kaul does his bit to create a credible villain but ultimately the shortcomings in the scripts are too much for the actors to overcome.
The film has a moody enough atmospheric look but the sufi music forming the backbone of the film’s score, while fine to hear, gets killed with its overuse in what appears to be a desperate effort to create emotion. Our filmmakers have yet to get it that judicious use of a background score renders it far more effective than it being assaulted on your senses all the time. There’s no real sound design to talk about with the background music pretty much drowning anything else.
All in all, Wazir is a tepid thriller whose gambits end up checkmating itself.
Hindi, Thriller, Color