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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Film review: Wazir builds tension like a grandmaster

In Wazir, director Bejoy Nambiar sets up a game of revenge and emotions on the canvas of a chessboard – set against a backdrop of terrorism and corrupt politicians.
Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan plays a wheelchair-bound chess teacher in Wazir. Courtesy Reliance Entertainment
Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan plays a wheelchair-bound chess teacher in Wazir. Courtesy Reliance Entertainment

Wazir

Director: Bejoy Nambiar

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari

Three stars

In Wazir, director Bejoy Nambiar sets up a game of revenge and emotions on the canvas of a chessboard – set against a backdrop of terrorism and corrupt politicians.

A wheelchair-bound, double-­amputee chess teacher, Panditjee (Amitabh Bachchan) befriends a suspended Anti Terrorist Squad officer, Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) – both men are recovering from the untimely deaths of their daughters. While Panditjee’s child was allegedly murdered by a politician, Danish’s dies in a shoot-out with terrorists. The men bond over their love of chess and support each other.

Danish’s wife, Ruhana (Aditi Rao Hydari), initially blames him for the death of their child, but Panditjee’s intervention helps bridge the growing gap between the couple.

However, little does Danish realise that Panditjee is manipulating him all the while, which ultimately drives him to exact revenge for Panditjee’s daughter by exposing and targeting her killer – a former terrorist-turned-politician.

By engineering such a sequence of events, Panditjee, using the chessboard as a metaphor for life, elevates his status from being a pyada (pawn) to that of Wazir (vizier/queen – the most powerful piece), ensuring that Danish, his haati (rook), unleashes havoc and avenges his daughter.

Both lead actors put in commendable performances, carrying the film completely on their shoulders. Akhtar, especially, excels in his portrayal of a father shattered by guilt and grief at the loss of first his daughter and others close to him.

During the first half of the film, the narrative moves at a brisk pace, offering unbridled edge-of-the-seat entertainment, with plenty of twists being introduced. However, as the plot develops in the second half, a few holes emerge (such as how, despite being suspended, Danish manages to run his investigations).

The music of Wazir, composed by Shantanu Moitra and Ankit Tiwari, among others, blends well with the plot and the opening song, Tere Bin (sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal), is already a hit.

Overall, Wazir is sure to resonate well with the viewers.

artslife@thenational.ae