Directed By: Bejoy Nambiar
Written By: Vidhu Vinod Chopra; Abhijat Joshi
Farhan Akhtar – Danish Ali
Amitabh Bachchan – Pandit Omkarnath Dhar
Aditi Rao Hydari – Ruhana Ali
Manav Kaul – Yazaad Qureshi
Anjum Sharma – Sartaj
Neil Nitin Mukesh – Wazir
John Abraham – S. P.
Language: Hindi Genre: Action Thriller
Wazir is an action thriller based on a story by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Set in Delhi but tied up with Kashmir, the film follows an ATS officer Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) as he tries to uncover the links between a terrorist organisation and the politician who is secretly funding them. Things very soon spiral out of control and professional pursuits become personal vendettas when his daughter dies in the crossfire. Estranged from his wife Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hydari) and debilitated by grief, he befriends a wheelchair bound chess master Pandit Omkarnath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan).
Chess is central to the narrative and the metaphors of chess colour every aspect of it. The scenes where the, at first detached Danish is defeated by five year olds are fun to watch. They are a pressure-valve from the rather dark narrative. While these chess games make Danish and Omkar close friends, they also create an empathetic space wherein both seek understanding and closure as fathers because they are beset by a sense of impotence due to fate’s manipulations.
The film is a meta-narrative; a story within a story or maybe many stories because every character seems to be presenting a story and strangely enough each story is like a move in a chess game – calculated. The characters then become like pieces on a chess board, some also try to be the players. A little fore knowledge of chess may make certain things apparent like how the Elephant can by castling defend the King or how the Wazir (Bishop) can take on the powers of a Queen. Deciphering this make it something to chew on.
One has to draw parallels with Suniel Shetty’s character in Main Hoon Na who says something to the effect of ‘all wars are personal’ – this is central to the film.
However, an analogy for the film is that of the soufflé that didn’t rise. It is delectable and most would devour their portions but it lacks something. A short story is a tightly packed narrative and since a film cannot be so compact, it needs to be more expansive. Yet at times the film needlessly explains itself. That makes it a little tedious to a viewer.
The cinematography is beautiful but the editing could have been tighter. John Abraham’s character is wasted in the film but Sartaj (Anjum Sharma) forms a good foil to Danish’s impetuosity. Danish is a problematic character because he charges blindly into a situation and his reaction at the penultimate moment of the film is incongruous in terms of human behaviour. This could be seen as a flaw in the narrative structure.
The characters are on the whole well-crafted with Omkarnath Dhar standing out as the showman and Yazaad Qureshi (Manav Kaul) as a pivotal character. A scene that is testament to Kaul’s abilities is when he calmly sits down and rolls up his sleeves, all the while keeping a civilised appearance and calmly questioning his daughter. It leaves a knot in the stomach that threatens to overwhelm the viewer’s composure.