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?


Jessica Kahawaty scores big with new Inter Milan campaign

Jessica Kahawaty released her latest campaign with Inter Milan. (AFP)
Updated 21 min ago
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Jessica Kahawaty scores big with new Inter Milan campaign

DUBAI: Lebanese-Australian model and influencer Jessica Kahawaty unveiled her latest ad campaign this week — a gritty new video for Italian football team Inter Milan.

The clip, which Kahawaty and Inter shared on their Instagram pages, features various dedicated professionals, from a dancer to a kitesurfer, refining their craft through sheer hard work.

“Whatever they say/ don’t bother trying. Triers can quit/ while I’m here, flying,” a male voice says in the video, before adding, “I’ve failed without guard/ I’ve fallen hard. I’ve been so wrong/ And that made me strong.”

The camera then pans to Kahawaty, wearing the club’s signature black-and-blue striped kit, who seems to be standing in a cavernous tunnel, as she says, “But this is not for everyone.”

 

 

The model took to Instagram to share the clip, captioning the post: “Proud to reveal my international campaign for @inter football team” in English, Italian and Arabic.

She stars alongside Chinese contemporary dancer Duan Jingting, the former Shanghai Ballet dancer who shot to fame on “So You Think You Can Dance China” and Airton Cozzolino, a champion kitesurfer.

For her part, Kahawaty studied business, finance and law in Sydney and then made a move into modelling and event hosting. The social media influencer, with 846,000 followers on Instagram, is also keen supporter of a number of humanitarian causes, including UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Last year, fashion house Louis Vuitton selected Kahawaty to work with UNICEF at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis, which has seen millions of people displaced.

The multi-talented celebrity also gave a talk at the TEDxSciencesPo event in Paris in April 2018.

The conference, according to a press release, brought together influencers “who work toward breaking the wall between the East and the West” and aims to “provide an essential bridge, to fuse the gap between rising trends of neo-conservatism predominant in the South of France and the cultural diversity that characterizes the Arab world.”