Movie Review (Aiyaary): The film with disguised messages

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Movie Name: Aiyaary

Release: 16 Feb 2018

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Actors: Manoj Bajpayee, Siddharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet Singh, Adil Hussain

Rating: 4 star

Review: The film with disguised messages

Aiyaary is a 2018 Indian film by Friday Filmworks. The film’s story, script and direction are by Neeraj Pandey of “A Wednesday” and “Baby” fame. The film stars Manoj Vajapayee, Siddharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet Singh, Adil Hussain, Kumud Mishra, Vikram Gokhale and Naseeruddin Shah in lead roles and a special appearance by Anupam Kher.

Aiyaary is a film based on the lives of Army people and involves military intelligence. The story is of Major Jai Bakshi (Played by Siddharth) who revolts against his own military unit headed by Abhai Singh (played by Manoj Bajpayee) and plans a massive operation along with girlfriend Sonia (played by Rakul Preet Singh) against international arms dealer Mukesh Kapoor (played by Adil Hussain).

Being part of the military intelligence and a special covert unit focused on surveillance, Jai stumbles upon information which changes his life’s perspective and purpose and that’s when he sets out on the mission endangering his own life along with that of Sonia, Abhai and his team. The film is about whether Abhai can stop Jai from destroying everything or not.

But if you think that the depiction in the film as simple as stated above then you are mistaken. Aiyaary means the “art of disguise”. In this case, it is mainly practiced by Jai who has learned it from Abhai. But that is for the characters. We must not forget that this is a Neeraj Pandey film, a man with impeccable storytelling skills and so gifted that he keeps the grip of the film on.

And therefore, you will need to watch at 70% of the film till you realize what the actual story is about. Hinting at the corruption within the army and ex-army officers going rogue, the film raises many pertinent questions like,

  1. Is the army beyond suspicion (Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion)?
  2. Is it always correct to turn down your juniors and dismiss them as “your generation”?
  3. What is the legacy that we are leaving behind for our children?
  4. Is it not true that our parents’ and grandparents’ generation spread corruption?
  5. Can a soldier really die for his country if he loses the perspective of a country?

The beauty of the film is that it raises the questions inadvertently i.e. it makes the audience think about these questions and answers to such questions are never objective.

The performances by Siddharth, Manoj, Adil, Rakul and Kumud are memorable as they gel into the characters they have to portray. Siddharth is turning out to be promising and after “Ittefaq”, this is another super performance by him. He should continue doing that. Manoj, Adil and Kumud are like Caesar’s wife, it will be a surprise if they don’t act, the natural actors that they are.

However, despite, the interesting story line, the gripping screenplay and astute direction, the film falters a bit at the editing table. Especially, the unfolding of events in the first one hour of the film could have been better. And as we go into layers of flashbacks, it becomes a challenge for the average viewer to keep track of the timeline.

As for the characters, they are very well crafted and on the surface it may look like 2 hours and 40 mins is a long film but I am happy that Neeraj took the liberty of time to delve deep into the background of the two main protagonists – Jai and Abhai. The connections between the characters and their lives has been interwoven beautifully and seamlessly. Action is minimalistic but the film is fast paced with a lot of interesting sequences of chase and losing a tail.

A film with a disguise of pertinent questions and strong characters, Aiyaary won’t fail to entertain you and at the same time, make you think. If you’re up for some sensible cinema along with entertainment this weekend, Aiyaary is your movie.

Neeraj Pandey won’t disappoint you. I give 4 stars to the film and if not for the editing, I would have given 5 stars.


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