Saif Ali Khan does not like to take it easy. The actor hasn't had the best of times at the box-office. But he has been an experimentalist like few others of his generation.
In recent years, Saif has been seen as a chef in Chef (2017), an action film star-turned-producer in Rangoon (2017), a financial maven in Baazaar (2018) and a Sikh Inspector in the web series Sacred Games. He will be now seen as a Naga sadhu, who is an assassin for hire, in Navdeep Singh’s upcoming revenge drama Laal Kaptaan.
The plot unfolds 25 years after the Battle of Buxar that was fought between a British army and an Indian alliance consisting of the Mughals, Awadh and Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal, on 22nd October 1764.
A bearded Saif dressed in a red outfit associated with a soldier of the British East India Company looks menacing in all three trailers that have been released. His character applies ‘bhasm’ (ash) on his face, wears a bright red ‘tilak’ on his forehead, has matted hair and ties a bandana around his head. A focused seeker of revenge for whom violence is a part of life, the sadhu wants to kill the antagonist (Manav Vij as Rehmat Khan) who has eluded him for 20 years.
The first trailer titled The Hunt impresses the viewer instantly with its striking cinematography (Shankar Raman). The sadhu is on horseback in a sequence, and the animal is dragging a body tied to it. The Hunt focuses on Saif’s character, showing him in black and white with the ‘tilak’ in red, and also when he is applying ‘bhasm’ on his face and fighting with a sword in hand. The suspenseful trailer indicates that he is a merciless killer without revealing the story.
The second trailer titled The Chase reveals a little bit more. Important characters are shown, among them that of The Tracker played by Deepak Dobriyal, who has two dogs named Sukhiram and Dukhiram. The Tracker can find anybody by following the person’s smell. If the trailer is an indication, Dobriyal has been brilliant as the eccentric person blessed with a peculiar talent, who travels with two helpful animals.
Zoya Hussain plays The Widow, who plays an important role in the bloodthirsty sadhu’s quest for revenge. Manav Vij as the prey named Rehmat Khan is tailor-made for the part. The mysterious character of Sonakshi Sinha, whose face is covered with a veil, seems to be that of a person who sends the sadhu on a mission to kill a chieftain. This chieftain is the same Rehmat Khan the sadhu wants to eliminate from the face of the earth.
The third and longest trailer is titled The Revenge. Here, the viewer is finally told about the sadhu's obsession with his prey for 20 years. Shown as a shooter and a swordsman, he wants to confront and destroy the antagonist. Why? That crucial question remains unanswered.
After Langda Tyagi in Omkara, the sadhu appears to be the most challenging character Saif has ever played. At the moment, it seems that the film will be unstoppable at the box-office. Viewers have been known to surprise everybody with their verdicts though.