Khuda Hafiz movie review: Powerful performances, gritty narrative

The Story

Sameer (Vidyut Jammwal) is introduced to Nargis (Shivaleeka Oberoi) in an arranged marriage setting. But, it is love at first sight for them and they soon tie the knot. The Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy in 2008 robbed many men and women of their jobs. Desperate for work, Sameer and Nargis apply for work overseas. The duo get a job in Norman. Nargis leaves first, only to realise that she is a victim of the heinous flesh trade. She somehow manages to call Sameer and inform him of her state. And thus begins Sameer's struggle to save his beloved wife.

The Review

The 2005 Kunal Kemmu-starrer ‘Kalyug’ depicted how the porn industry prospered at the cost of an innocent couple’s private moments. And, Khuda Hafiz shows the devastation caused by the murky world of flesh trade yet again. The film may seem dated, but it serves as a reminder to the modern day woman to keep a tab of the malicious ongoings around her. Instances in the plot might have been be borrowed from reality, but pretty much raise the bars of caution for men and women alike.

Khuda Hafiz has a gritting narrative that involves an array of emotions ranging from joy, to fear, bravery, enigma and triumph. Vidyut Jammwal, who has starred in action films like the ‘Commando’ series and played a darker role in ‘Force’, plays the role of Sameer Chaudhry with panache. He builds on his character very strategically as the plot advances. He has a wonderful chemistry with Shivaleeka Oberoi, who has increasingly used her eyes and very pronounced facial expressions to build on her character.

Shivaleeka Oberoi has delivered a very different part as Nargis from her earlier films that include the likes of ‘Kick’ and ‘Housefull 3’. Khuda Hafiz is certainly going to earn her the requisite recognition that she could have possibly been vying for. Her screen presence is greatly watered down, but while she is on screen she makes it absolutely watchable.

Veteran actor Annu Kapoor plays a typical Pathan from Norman, adding character to the film in the most inconceivable way. While playing the part of Usman Bhai he delivers a very powerful message, that is, investing trust in the right people. This could be anyone — from people working in the bureaucratic to autocratic regime; also your own kith and kin. Though his part makes the plot slightly predictable, director Faruk Kabir artfully brings in the twists and turns to keep with the upbeat mood of the film.

Shiv Panditt adds yet another feather to his cap as he plays Faiz Abu Malik, a Norman-based IAS agent. His role is very tricky, cleverly deceiving and confusing the audiences — you don't know whether he is the good cop or bad! He plays shades of grey with great ease.

Despite all the tension in the film delivers, the director of photography, Jitan Harmeet Singh, artfully cruises viewers through the scenic vistas of Norman City.

This film is a must watch for everyone. It’s very telling and gives a powerful message: Always keep one’s guards up.

Name of the film: Khuda Hafiz

Platform: Disney+Hotstar

Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Annu Kapoor, Shiv Panditt, Aahana Kumra

Director: Faruk Kabir

Rating: 4/5

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