An adaptation of the Spanish thriller The Invisible Guest, Badla is a riveting, briskly-paced murder mystery that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Director Sujoy Ghosh builds tension right at the outset demanding viewers’ attention and absorbs you right in. Just when you think you have it all sorted, the film throws you for a loop. It keeps you busy and guessing all along as the cat-and-mouse story unfurls.
Young businesswoman Naina (Taapsee Pannu) is prime suspect of her boyfriend’s murder and hires lawyer Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to defend her case. Extremely well helmed, Badla maintains tension but never drags. It’s tightly edited and equally well performed. Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu are in familiar zones here and in perfect tandem. Amrita Singh is well suited for the part and turns in a solid performance.
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Ghosh likes his stories and characters rooted in a believable world. The places not only lend credibility but assume a character of their own in his films. Shot in Glasgow, Scotland, the city aids the general mood of the film — dark, grim, mysterious. Avik Mukhopadhyay’s superlative cinematography adds context to the setting. Together, they get the milieu and atmospherics just right.
Kahaani (2012) still remains my most favourite work among his filmography. Nevertheless, Badla is definitely watchable if you haven’t seen the original. Ghosh could’ve thought of a smarter title, though!
By Mansi Dutta