Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharth Malhotra, Kumud Mishra, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Rating: * * ½
This military espionage thriller about the men in uniform, some going rogue, makes much ado over an unsubstantiated thing. Pussyfooting around the issues that have plagued the Indian army for long, Director Neeraj Pandey (of A Wednesday fame) stops well-short of pinpointing (beyond-reasonable-doubt) the actual culprits (higher-ups) in this farcical attempt to paint an expose without having a real focus to go with it.
There’s a lot of beating around the bush here- military officers and their quirks take up a major chunk of the runtime while actual plot development suffers in the process. The background score hyperventilates over the pettiest of chores and basically makes it impossible to take this half-baked, blunted thriller, seriously.
Yeah you got it – there are a few arms dealers in truck with the military command and that’s what Pandey wants to highlight I guess. But the screenplay is way too lengthy and tiresome to make the narrative seem interesting.
Senior military officer Col. Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) is in charge of a covert cell whose primary aim is to ferret out the ‘desh-ke-Gaddars.’ His protege, Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) the Intelligence operative, is the one who gets disillusioned, goes lofty and outs his own teammates. His source of disillusionment isn’t substantive though. The cloak and dagger intrigue here is developed to shrill not thrill.
Jai wants to expose a fraudulent system but instead jeopardizes his own unit and becomes expendable to his mentor. A time-bound capture is set up but it doesn’t increment the interest level any. The wrap-up is done hastily and you don’t feel satisfied by the climax that eventually turns out to be extremely lame. There’s neither thrill nor tension in the layout here.
Manoj Bajpayee is impressive enough, while Naseeruddin Shah appears to have gone into a delirium trying to relive his ‘A Wednesday’ effort. Kumud Mishra, Adil Hussain play their roles without much relish and Anupam Kher seems to be in it because he has become a regular.
Siddharth Malhotra needs to work a lot more on his acting skills. He looks good in uniform but that alone cannot make his role convincing. Rakul Preet Singh as his hacker/girlfriend looks pretty but her tricks appear lame and not of any mercurial worth. ‘Aiyaary’ may have chosen the right subject to tell an unsavoury story but it doesn’t have the wisdom to make it stick when it matters most.