Vadh (2022/ Thriller/ Cinema Release)
Writer & Director – Jaspal Singh Sandhu , Rajeev Barnwal
Cast – Sanjay Mishra,Neena Gupta, Manav Vij , Saurabh Sachdeva
The film opens and we are introduced to retired Master ji Shambhunath Mishra (Sanjay Mishra) and his wife Manju( Neena Gupta).
Their simple life and adorable relationship is heartwarming and brings a smile.
Seeing them struggling to make ends meet and being rebuffed by their pig of a son who has settled abroad leaving them neck deep in debts is so heartbreaking, you feel like slapping him.
Yet Manju ji doesn’t stop doting on her son or hoping that he’ll help, and you sigh and shake your head “mothers will always be mothers”.
When a heartless repugnant loan shark (Saurabh Sachdeva) makes their life hell ,you hate him and wish him death. But when Master ji actually fulfils your wish, it sets your heart racing and worrying as to how will he get away with it.
The makers draw you deep into their world with a fantastic realistic touch. Their attention and hard work that has gone into it is noticeable and worth appreciation.
The locations, the art detailing, their well used meagre abode, its interiors, kitchen, utensils, canisters,the “Pooja ka ala,” right down to the grimy “thaila” ,her humble cotton sarees with rubia blouses, the chappals .
The two top notch actors at helm had a lot to do with your connect to the film. Sanjay Mishra wins your heart in his various shades to the character ;as the doting husband, the struggling poor man, the disappointed father whose self respect is at loggerheads with hope for help from a son gone rogue, the cold resolve of a man who is a pushed against the wall and needs to protect.
Neena Gupta wears her character as a homely woman with an easy charm and it often makes me go wow reminded of the fact what a sassy woman she is in her real life.
Saurabh Sachdeva is terrific as the terrifying and puke worthy Pandey.
Manav Vij as policeman Shakti Singh is good.
The film has a Drishyam-esque plot but in a vastly different world and style.
The first half is slice of life drama with superb naturalism.It boasts of shining performances, appreciable art detailing and ensures you remain invested despite its luxurious pace. But there are aspects that could have been bettered.The first half, which goes entirely into setting up characters and premise ,could have been paced up. As someone who loves slow burn and can soak in the details of the frames, I understand this. But had the film brought about the twist a little early up, it could have appealed better to a wider audience.
Also I personally felt the details of the crime and the aftermath, a little incredulous.That could be my personal opinion or the side effects of watching too many crime thrillers.I felt the script details too convenient at places.
But keeping the flaws aside, the film deserves a watch for not only the performances but also the format of a slow burn thriller that blends a thriller twist with niche cinema treatment.
Must watch for Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta fans. A good watch for slow burn buffs.
Score 3 on 5