Director: Victor Mukherjee
Cast: Anshuman Jha, Ridhi Dogra, Paresh Pahuja, Milind Soman
Where: Streaming now on Zee5
Rating: 2 stars
For a world where animal cruelty is at an all-time high, it becomes imperative to create awareness and learn about how can we make a more conductive and sensitive environment for animals and humans to co-exist? Taking this novel idea forward, director Victor Mukherjee's Lakadbaggha stars Anshuman Jha as Arjun Bakshi, a courier personnel who moonlights as a martial arts teacher in his neighbourhood. When his neighbourhood pet Shanku goes missing, he turns into a vigilante and takes down those who are smuggling unsuspecting breeds of dogs for their illicit activities. Bakshi is assisted in his strive by police officer Akshara D'Souza (Ridhi Dogra) and must get close to the heels of Aryan (Paresh Pahuja), the kingpin of an illegal animal trade cell in Kolkata.
While the intent and the script itself is an applause-worthy attempt, the same cannot be said about the movie's execution. A rare breed of Indian hyena becomes the propellor of the narrative and the guiding spirit to the hero's motives, a plot device that sounds rather outlandish. Alok Sharma's screenplay becomes the film's singular weak link. What's admirable though are the action sequences, designed by Kecha Khamphakdee that display a great mix of Krav Maga and MMA. Watching a young Jha being trained by the super-fit Milind Soman, who plays Arjun's father and guardian angel, becomes a suitable excuse to sit through the film. Leaving that humble mercy aside, there is little to be enjoyed in Lakadbaggha. The flat-out romantic portions between Jha and Dogra do little to uplift the credentials of the film.
If at all you'll want to give this film a chance and add it to your binge-list is for the sincere and spirited performance by Jha. Jha infuses grit and determination in Bakshi, making him a character worth rooting for. Paresh is honestly an odd choice for a negative character because his chocolate boy looks do cause a hindrance, in between. While Ridhi seems perfect in the portions that require her to play the tough cop, she isn't able to add much heft in the film's more sensitive moments.
Lakadbaggha could've made for a great film, if it wasn't for a meandering screenplay and for it's length. The film is now streaming on Zee5.