Batla House Movie Review: On Independence Day, here's a battle of perspectives on the controversial encounter

In the times, when social media has become the battleground for the ‘nationalist’ versus ‘liberals’, true lies, an oxymoron, is going to be the crux of debate on Batla House. Even the makers confess the movie is based on true events that were labelled untrue.
Batla House Review: On Independence Day, a battle of perspectives on the controversial encounterBatla House Movie Review: On Independence Day, a battle of perspectives on the controversial encounter
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Batla House 

Batla House Director: Nikkhil Advani

Batla House Cast: John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur

Batla House Movie Stars: 4/5

The movie is a fictionalised version of the Operation Batla House, which took place on September 13, 2008 against Indian Mujahideen terrorists in the Batla House locality of Jamia Nagar, New Delhi. The film traces the story, struggle and mental agony of a seven-member Delhi Police Special Cell team post the encounter of Indian Mujahideen terrorists who were involved in the serial blasts that shocked Delhi in 2008.

Directed by Nikkhil Advani, this fictionalised account rides on the perspective of DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav as he struggles to fight the politics, trial by media and a marriage on the verge of divorce.  

The first half of the film is crisp, engaging and filled with some raw action. It is heartening to see action heroes such as John avoiding filmy and choreographed action scenes. It works with the audience when you are recounting the real-life incidents. The second-half is saturated with emotions, salvaged by the director before becoming over-dramatic.

In the last few years, John Abraham, who portrays the role of DCP Sanjeev Kumar, has veered towards films with more patriotic tones, vigilantes and stood by the account of the men in uniform. The makers have subdued John’s physique and not made it the USP of the film. The actor has done a good job emoting a conflux of disappointment and anger of hapless officer who faces the trial both within and outside the court for his fight against terrorism.  

Mrunal Thakur has played her small but pivotal role of Nandita (DCP Sanjeev Kumar’s wife) with conviction. The director has intelligently used talented actors as supporting cast in an attempt to take some ‘hero-sheen’ off the protagonist. Nonetheless, the film still largely revolves around the protagonist. Rajesh Sharma is under-utilised, but does justice to the part offered. Manish Chaudhari as Police Commissioner Jaivir is impressive. Ravi Kishan, who essays the role of KK, has a very small role but has played his part well.

There are few impactful dialogues; a glimpse of which was also visible in the trailer of the film. Brownie points to the makers for not forcefully inducing songs in the film but for Saki Saki. Nora Fatehi portrays the role of a dancer and girlfriend of one of the terrorists the special crime cell is chasing. The art and makeup department have done a decent job to give the audience a visual connect with the characters and locations.

In brevity, Batla House is a movie made for those who want to revisit the pages of history. On the Independence Day, the police officers deserve a film like Batla House to remind us that there is a world in between the two extremes of ‘memes’ and the ‘hyper-national portrayal of the forces’.

 

 

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