Naam Shabana: A Dull and Disconnected Spy Thriller
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
If you were at all fascinated by the mysterious yet amusing characters in the film Baby, be warned. Naam Shabana is a dull prequel that’ll ruin the fluidity of your beloved characters and their intriguing personality. Just when you decide to overlook logical loopholes, the film makes it worse by blending two apparently disconnected storylines. By trying to merge two half-baked storylines, it leaves neither of the tracks satisfyingly fulfilled.
Naam Shabana follows the fearless Shabana Khan’s journey to avenge her lover’s ruthless murder. When she is stranded helplessly without clues, she is drawn into a government-based intelligence group who enlist their help to her only if she offers to carry out their long-pending mission in exchange. The first half of the film follows her journey of revenge and the second half metamorphoses itself into a sloppy spy thriller.
Director Shivam Nair has undoubtedly packed a few sequences in Shabana with blazing action but when it comes to creating a layer of underlying depth and tension, he fails. Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill too is a journey of revenge. It manages to bring the tension alive because of Uma Thurman’s tedious preparation followed by a justifiable execution. But in Naam Shabana, we don’t even get a fair glimpse of Jay in order to empathize with Shabana. We don’t get pulled into her journey of revenge.
The disjointed story-lines bring about a sense of irritation amongst the audiences. Right when you are taken through her quest to avenge Jay’s death, the story shifts its premise to an entirely different plot twist. This kind of juggling serves as a distraction and only brings about unnecessary chaos to the storyline. If the film chose to tell one powerful story instead, it would have left the mark it set out to make.
Naam Shabana’s cast comprises of actors with immense potential. Unfortunately, the poor writing and execution gives very little scope for them to put forth a worthy performance. As Shabana Khan, Taapsee Pannu is fierce and exhibits great proportions of poise and viciousness. Akshay Kumar makes a fleeting and fascinating appearance. Manoj Bajpayee and Prithviraj Sukumaran are good too, but if the characterizations were backed with more depth, they would’ve performed better.
The technicalities of Naam Shabana are on point. Sudheer Palsane’s cinematography slides pleasant visuals in a smooth manner, and Deepak Seju’s editing tries to do whatever little it can to lift up the dull narrative.
Every now and then a jarringly loud background score makes its way into the narrative just to mark its presence. Sadly, it just comes across as blaring and flashy. It never manages to enhance the suspense in the film. If only music composers found a way to make noise with great compositions rather than just turning the volume up on mediocre pieces.
On the whole, Naam Shabana is a disjointed and dull thriller that does not completely fulfill either of the genres it ventures into due to its lack of focused writing and sharp execution.