Hindi film makers should realise now that the Hindi audience now is well aware of Hollywood films and can at once point out the striking similarities between a new Hindi film and a Hollywood classic. That said, Baazaar is admittedly the first film in Hindi which so intensely revolves around the hustling in stock market. But unfortunately the strong resonance of The Wolf of Wall street, Wall Street and even The Colour of Money can be sensed in the film. Even when the characters seem to have a strong regional touch (Saif Ali Khan is a Gujarati tycoon Shakun Kothari and Rohan Mehra is Rizwan Ahmad has come to Mumbai from Allahabad, which is now Prayagraj), the characterisation of the Hollywood films is quite apparent.
Hindi cinema is now increasingly working on and portraying characters who are neither good nor bad or are both with a plenty of grey in their personalities. Baazaar is another such film but with a difference--here, not only the protagonist but most of the characters surrounding him are anti-hero. In this sense, the film impresses as Shriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun does. But the characters and story do not transcend the mere ‘thriller’ framework of the film which Raghavan’s films often do.
The story is as hackneyed as a story based on stock trading can be. You hustle, you go up fast, then you have enemies and the government machinery chasing you and finally you fall. Then the rivalry between a seasoned tycoon and an ambitious new comer is also something we have witnessed.
The performance by Saif Ali Khan in the protagonist’s role is brilliant except when he tries to remind us of his Gujarati background. That’s where the director fails. Compare the case with that of Omkara where the otherwise suave and sophisticated Saif has played a rustic character. He was marvellous in that character. But in Baazaar, at times Saif’s Gujarati accents fails him and sounds a tad awkward.
Rohan Mehra doesn’t have the strong screen presence that his father Vinod Mehra had but as a debutant he has worked alright and shows promise. Radhika Apte as the love interest of Rizwan Ahmad brings in the perfect touch of glamour Chitrangada as Kothari’s wife looks stunning. She was never a great actor.
The film could have been a masterpiece if the script could have focused on various other nuances and characters of the story than just on its being a financial thriller. Debutant director Gauravv Chawla will be definitely lauded for directing business thriller, but with a sigh that the film could be a far better and a maturer one.
But well, if you are fed up to the core of watching Hindi romantic or masala films, you should go and watch it. It will definitely come as a breath of fresh air.