Movie Review: Baby

“ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

“ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

“ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

As the seconds go ticking and all flights out of Saudi Airport are asked to be held back, India’s undercover agents have all but cracked a major terror outfit and are on the flight to India with its chief in a comatose state just as the crack Saudi cop gets to the mystery of the shootout in a high security Saudi hotel where Bilal, a notorious terrorist, has been gunned down.

The cop takes a long time to answer. There is palpable tension on the aircraft as the agents [all seated separately] nervously wonder whether the aircraft will take off. At the Air Traffic Control tower, captured beautifully, the urgency to clear flights is creating a hurdle. The tension in the audience can be sliced with a knife!

Welcome to Neeraj Pandey’s Baby. His third will rock you with its crisp tenor in storytelling. The style slackens three times whenever the family angle, unnecessarily put in, jars like a music conductor suddenly switching to a Bollywood item number when all the while he was treating his rapt audience to Beethoven!

This is not Neeraj Pandey. This is not what we saw in A Wednesday, that gem of a thriller, as well as Special 26. Pandey will have to be wary of bowing to Bollywood diktats of throwing in unnecessary scenes, just for the heck of it. But that is another story for another day.

With Baby, Pandey once again establishes his credentials of a story-teller with a genius streak. Clearly, he is the hero of the film. All else just flow with ease under his guidance.

Post 26/11 the armed forces of India get together to form a covert operation, identifying 12 men willing to risk their lives for the safety of the country. Eight have already sacrificed their lives. Four remain and they are on the last leg of cracking a major terror strike across the country. Their search takes them to Turkey, Nepal and Saudi Arabia. There is a big price they have to pay: If ever they are caught, the Indian government will wash their hands off them. That is the deal! Secretly, however, known to just a few in the Government, they are backed with whatever support they need.

Baby, does not sleep. There’s slick action aplenty. The action graph slides and rises sharply. The build-up to cracking terror-strikes is astute. The very brief display of maniacal terror through its men too is brief, but leaves a lasting impression. Bilal Khan, Taufeeq, Maulana Mohammed Rehman, Jamal all these characters are not dwelt upon, but shown in passing.

Even small scenes are handled with so much depth and detail like the one with the Prime Minister’s PA and the Chief of Baby and Ajay Singh Rajput, the officer heading the Baby team.

A case in point is Murli Sharma and Tapsee Pannu. Both have bit roles. While Murli sheds loads of his previously played characters to present himself anew, Tapsee, in her very second Hindi film, gets a chance to do a completely raw act!

For Akshay Kumar, this is a high adrenalin role that allows him no to time to slacken his pace. He packs a mean punch in his role as a crack officer. Danny Denzongpa as the chief of Baby, guides the operations effortlessly with his guile and diplomacy within the government. All the villians including Kay Kay Menon inject that right dose of terror. The problem with Menon is that he gets repetitive in essaying roles. But Pandey gives him no scope for that. The Maulana’s maniacal terror essayed by Pakistan actor Rashid Naz is the icing on the cake.

But like I said, in all this, it is Neeraj Pandey who stands out because it his genius that shines through. The rest of the cast just fall in line under his directorial baton.

 “ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

“ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

“ATC to police control room. Any problem sir?”

Will the flight take off? Or is there a twist in the tale for the undercover agents aboard Etihad Airways.

I won’t spoil the tension for you. Go watch Baby!

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on January  23, 2015


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