Film Review: ‘Badla’ sinks in a quagmire of plot imperfections

A still from Bollywood flick ‘Badla.’ YouTube
Updated 13 March 2019
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Film Review: ‘Badla’ sinks in a quagmire of plot imperfections

CHENNAI: After a few flops, Sujoy Ghosh directed two engaging pieces of work — “Kahaani” in 2012 and “Kahaani 2” in 2016. His genre has been thrillers, and he sticks to it in his latest outing in Scotland, set mostly in Glasgow.

Titled “Badla” or “Revenge,” this is a near-faithful adaptation of the 2016-17 Spanish murder-mystery, “Contratiempo,” or “The Invisible Guest,” by Oriol Paulo, now streaming on Netflix.

Badla is a typical whodunnit with a couple of murders and a pretty suspect, Naina Sethi, played by Taapsee Pannu, who pairs with Amitabh Bachchan once again (as they did in “Pink”). 

Like in “Pink,” Bachchan is a lawyer in “Badla.” As Badal Gupta, he is tasked with defending Naina, whose  fling outside her happy marriage has gone horribly wrong. She finds herself in a hotel room with her lover, Arjun (Tony Luke), killed. She is arrested for murder, but gets out on bail with the help of her close lawyer friend, Jimmy Punjabi (Manav Kaul). Woven into this sticky situation are two more characters, an elderly couple — Nirmal (Tanveer Ghani) and Rani (Amrita Singh) — whose son goes missing, and there appears to be a link between this disappearance and Arjun’s death.

“Badla” looks ethereal, with cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay capturing Scotland in all its splendour — its misty mornings adding to the air of mystery. But unfortunately, these picture-postcard images serve as mere embellishments to a plot and performance that are disappointing. Bachchan brings little novelty to his role. As for Pannu, she fails to get her act together as a crime suspect whose position as a celebrated businesswoman and as a mother as well as a wife is in peril. Not much of an effort appears to have gone into developing these characters.

And the plot itself has far too many holes and convenient coincidences. Of course, Ghosh would say that he merely followed the Spanish original. But what stopped him from reworking the story and the script to give us a believable narrative?


Makkah all set for its first flower festival

Sea of flowers at Muzdalifah district in Makkah. (AN Photo by Abdulmohsen Doman)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Makkah all set for its first flower festival

  • A symposium on environmental planning, and the design of green spaces such as parks, gardens and squares will also be held
  • The flower festival continues until March 23

MAKKAH: A carpet of flowers featuring 1 million blooms will be one of the main attractions as Makkah hosts its first flower festival.

The event, which begins on Tuesday at Muzdalifah, has been organized by the city’s municipality in cooperation with the Arab Urban Development Institute and King Saud University. It will be officially opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.

Raed Samarqandi, the director of the municipality’s department of media and publications, said that the festival is unique and has serious objectives.

“It aims to improve the environment, fight pollution and show an image that suits the value of the city and its holy sites,” he explained. “The festival will coincide with the 20th symposium on afforestation, titled “Suitable afforestation for the environmental conditions of Makkah — the central region and holy sites,” on March 19 and 20.

The symposium will feature representatives of governmental sectors and scientific bodies and include discussion of papers addressing many the issues in the city, such as the state of afforestation in Makkah, the latest techniques in environmental planning, and the design of green spaces such as parks, gardens and squares.

Makkah Mayor Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Quwaihes has invited speakers from the private sector, universities, research centers, and agricultural and afforestation companies to contribute and help raise awareness of these local issues.

The flower festival continues until March 23.