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Shalini Singh
Shalini Singh


Playing the mind game

  • Aditi-Rao-Hydari-In-Wazir

When Amitabh Bachchan (Pandit Omkarnath Dhar) utters the possibly clinching line of the film, 'haarne wale ki hee jeet hoti hai' (it's the loser who wins), he would very well have been referring to the verse in the Bible that says, 'Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth'.

Wazir, meaning 'minister', and even 'burden', is said to have first been used in the Quran, and later the religious wazir who became the political wazir (one who helps carry the burden) is both pawn and person in the film. One of this year's first big releases directed by Bejoy Nambiar is a fast-paced action thriller at 104 minutes running time.

The film has been written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi. It stars the veteran actor who essays a wheelchair-bound character, Farhan Akhtar (Daanish Ali) as an ATS officer, Aditi Rao Hydari as his wife (Ruhana Ali), Manav Kaul as the Kashmiri welfare minister (Izaad Qureshi), Neil Nitin Mukesh (Wazir) and John Abraham (SP) in supporting roles.

Fate brings both grieving men, Dhar and Ali, together in an unusual friendship. The former has lost both his wife (in an accident) and daughter (suspected to be murdered by the minister) while the latter's daughter died in a shootout for which Ali holds himself responsible. Ali is still in the throes of his tragedy, while Dhar has reconciled to a larger purpose of life. The cerebral game of chess is used as a metaphor throughout the film, with Dhar painstakingly teaching Ali how to 'win' at the game, and life. It is a coming together of the old and new in both literal and metaphorical ways.

A saga of pain and revenge—heated in the latter's case, slow burn in the former's— Wazir is a mental game. To win at both game and life , the mind is the most important.

Some strands in the racy theme like this end up hanging a bit clumsily till the finale ties them in tautly. A stellar performance from Bachchan, as usual -- his acting comes as naturally as breathing. Akhtar is intense, but his potrayal as an officer could have been more sharply etched out. Hydari wafts in and out with grace despite a minimum role. Kaul is competent given his theatre background. Watch it for the performances.

Film: Wazir
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari, Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham
Rating: 3/5

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