Rating                                      ★★★

Directed by                            Neeraj Pandey

Produced by                          Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Shital Bhatia

Written by                              Neeraj Pandey

Starring                                   Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Madhurima Tuli,

                                                   Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Rasheed Naz

Music by                                  M. M. Kreem (songs), Meet Bros Anjjan (songs), Sanjoy Chowdhury (score)

Cinematography                  Sudeep Chatterjee

Edited by                                Shree Narayan Singh

Production company         T-Series, Crouching Tiger, Cape of Good Films, Friday Filmworks

Distributed by                       T-Series

Release dates                        January 23, 2015 (India)

Running time                        159 minutes

An anti-nationalist tries to intimidate our hero by making a declaration like, “Beware! We write MUSLIM as our religion in the column marked for so in all government forms”; and our hero-an undercover agent gives him an equal back, “We are more submissive towards our nation as we write INDIAN in the said column”. I am not sure how many times the officer in question would have faced rejection of his forms at the respective offices and counters but for the screen, it does create an impact; an impact more Bollywood-ish but substantial for a nationalistic film made for entertainment.

Writer-director Neeraj Pandey has proved himself earlier with his similar approach in A WEDNESDAY & in SPECIAL CHABBIS (26). His latest BABY is a gripping but easy espionage-thriller filled with fast-paced action, impossible-looking anti-terrorist missions, men under cover, race against time situations, mellowness in melodrama and more notably Akshay Kumar playing his age. So, you might miss him hitting the dance floor on some vodka & short-skirt girl obsessed Yo Yo Honey Singh number but I enjoyed it more.

Not many years passed when Bollywood has restrictions not to take ‘names’ while referring our neighboring country but now, we are liberated enough to come up with lines like, “+92 [country code of Pakistan] lagao, mujhe aazad karao”, a terrorist flounders in prison. Fondly christened for its short term, BABY is a 5-year trial program where 12 undercover agents are trained & unfastened to fight terrorism freely with a clause that Indian Government would never claim their identity as an Indian in worst case scenario. BABY- the film is the last mission of BABY-the program.

Headed by Feroze Ali [Danny in an identical role of his ATS chief in Mani Shankar’s 16 DECEMBER], Ajay [Played by Akshay Kumar] & his team [schemer Anupam Kher, muscle-man Rana Daggubati and the trained martial art expert in salwar-suit Taapsee Pannu] are chasing down the terrorist movements in various parts of India to terminate their lethal plots. Their prime targets are Bilal Khan [Kay Kay Menon in a shorter role] who wants proper attention & treatment at par Kasab would get, and Maulana- a Pakistan based religious leader-orator & mastermind modeled on Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and believably played by the Pakistani actor Rasheed Naz.

BABY acts immature as a juvenile when it comes to be a smart thriller. It never actually shocks you with a more feasible approach than being a tough nut-to-crack thriller but the pace, no non-sense songs, believable acting performances, brilliantly shot sequences and an underlay deadpan humor throughout. Though it is one such film that believes a mustache can make a hero look more real, BABY tries a lot to break the norms Bollywood is known to fall for. So no more ‘on-time’ wire-cuts while defusing a bomb! No more melodramatic cries over personal/professional losses! And more importantly, no breathing space for item numbers [one comes at the end-credits, you can ignore that easily].

As the final verdict, Neeraj Pandey’s BABY has his trademark patriotic touch with absolute mass appeal but lacks the punch in emotions he showed in ‘A WEDNESDAY’ and what’s also a miss is the smartness and the unquestionable precision in the screenplay as his SPECIAL CHABBIS (26) excelled in. Still, it’s a well-made thriller that doesn’t lose its steam despite being 2 hour 40 min long…and that says a lot!

Review Written By:- Gaurav Rai

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