By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 18, 2017

Rating: 3 / 5


The essence: Irada, which focusses on eco-terrorism, has an interesting premise for a movie along with some superb performances, but poor writing lets it down.

A taut thriller goes wrong on two counts. One, towards the end, as is their wont, Bollywood films are known to make fun of themselves, either by using names of films of the past, characters, or names of actors. Here, Arjun Mishra (Arshad Warsi) and Parabjeet Walia (Naseeruddin Shah) are sharing a Single Malt somewhere in the mountains and Mishra asks Walia what name he would want on his new passport: John F Kennedy, John Lennon, John Abraham or Che Guvera?

Pray, where does Johnny boy stand between these three heavyweights? Why ruin a good plot with such lazy writing?

Secondly, Walia trains his daughter, not in a swimming pool, but in a lake. Nowadays, swimming in a pool is dangerous, so why invite the wrath of toxic waste getting into your system by venturing into a lake?

And that is precisely what happens to Walia’s daughter, Riya (Rumana Molla). She falls ill and dies. Twelve months later,we are shown an RTI activist being killed. He has stumbled onto blood samples of cancer patients who have been affected by the reverse boring (dumping of toxic waste into the earth) by Punjab’s biggest chemical factory.

Meanwhile, in the past one year, Walia has done enough research to put Paddy Sharma (Sharad Kelkar) the owner of the chemical factory, behind bars for life. But there is a hitch here: Paddy is the businessman around who the city of Punjab revolves. Even the CM, Ramandeep Braitch (Divya Dutta), is clay in his hands.

But Walia is not going to let his daughter’s death go in vain and Paddy finds his cocoon being threatened. First, Maya Singh (Sagarika Ghatge), an investigative journalist, blackens his face at a public gathering. Her boyfriend (the RTI activist) has been killed by him. Then, Walia hounds him with details of his past before blowing up his entire chemical plant.

In walks Arjun Mishra from the NIA to investigate the blast. The CM wants the file closed, Paddy wants his insurance money and Mishra seems to be obliging. However, he is not the bumbling cop he pretends to be. Deep inside, he wants to be a Singham!

Irada has the right intentions and director Aparnaa Singh begins the film in style. Rumana Molla weighs you down with her heavyweight performance. Suddenly, we are taken to 12 months later and that is a big relief because. here in Bollywood, we are always treated to flashbacks!

There’s no suspense here as to who has triggered the blast, but the beauty lies in the investigation and the manner in which Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutta and Naseeruddin Shah interact in their scenes.

Divya Dutta is first rate as the ruthless CM who lacks manners. Arshad Warsi comes up with a another top-notch performance, while Naseeruddin Shah gets trapped in a role he has essayed beautifully in A Wednesday. There’s no novelty in his approach to this role and that is a big downer!

Sagarika Ghatge coming on screen after a long time does not have much meat in her role but manages to catch the eye. There’s only so much she was allowed to do. Sharad Kelkar as the bad man owns the screen whenever he comes on it while Rajesh Sharma as Jeetu, Paddy’s right hand, tops with yet another winning performance.

On the whole, Irada, which focusses on eco-terrorism, has an interesting premise for a movie along with some superb performances, but poor writing lets it down. I was particularly happy that the director did not go into the painful process of Walia’s daughter’s death and left it for the viewer to conjecture. And just when that thought entered my mind, she fits in a flashback to tell us Riya’s traumatic tale, which slackened the blistering pace she had set.

Sometimes, situations are best left to the viewer to think it out, rather than hand it over on a platter. And that is what makes for an interesting thriller.

Producers: Prince Soni, Falguni Patel
Director: Aparnaa Singh
Star Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Divya Dutta, Sagarika Ghatge, Sharad Kelkar

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