As a self-proclaimed, pretentious movie buff I’ve always held a soft corner for American, as well as Speghetti Westerns and I‘ve always wondered, “Why don’t we do anything like this?”
Well apparently, and quite pleasantly, Bollywood has given me rather two fitting replies to this question of mine this year, one of which was Sonchidiya. The other one is this week’s Navdeep Singh directed Laal Kaptaan. The movie has its own Ifs and Buts. However, you can’t deny the sheer dedication of the cast and crew in bringing out a fictional world fascinating enough to blur our memories of Tumbbad. Let’s take a closer look as we review Laal Kaptaan Movie.
Laal Kaptaan Movie Review- The Plot
Laal Kaptaan is set in the late-1700s, a time of fantastic tumult in India. The Battle of Buxar has taken place, the Mughals are losing their grip and the British are on their way to taking control of the country. North India is a mess of competing interests: Afghans, Marathas, assorted tribes and clans. Into this bubbling stew, Singh drops a naga sadhu, played by Saif Ali Khan, who has unfinished business with a warlord named Rahmat Khan (Manav Vij). The essence of a Western is strong in this one: there are Moriccone-like bells and choruses, and the sadhu is a nod to both the Lone Ranger and the Man With No Name (everyone just calls him “gosain”, the term for Shiva-worshipping ascetics). But Laal Kaptaan is also a chase film, a genre Singh experimented within NH10. Gosain has been pursuing Khan for 20 years and is finally within striking distance. Also pursuing Khan are the Marathas, whose money he’s run off with. And there’s a tracker played by Deepak Dobriyal, who’ll hunt down anyone, Gosain or Khan, for a fee.
Laal Kaptaan Movie Review- On The Upside
The film wins full points at the conceptualization of a fictional world on a historical backdrop. This year’s Kalank and Thugs Of Hindustan, though set in the same period, were shamelessly tone-deaf to the world they’re set in. Laal Kaptaan, on the other hand, immerses you effortlessly into the world of a post apocalypticish War-torn India. The story is based around Bundelkhand but the scenes have been shot in Rajasthan to give you a feel of a pre-independent India with vast terrains and endlessly barren landscapes. Shankar Raman’s cinematography has been able helping hand in taking the story forward and making the world believable.
Another winning aspect for the film is the performances. Saif Ali Khan has been on redemption spree with the choices of roles he’s been taking lately. With Sacred Games, we did not have any doubt left for Khan’s acting chops and he’s proven his critics wrong again with Laal Kaptaan. Saif had delved himself in the shoes of the Naga Sadhu so much so that he’s barely recognisable in some scenes. Deepak Dobriyal’s tracker feels so real you can smell his breath every time he speaks on s reen. Dobriyal is one of those rare gems in the industry who should be getting more attention and, of course, better films. Zoya Hussain as the nameless widow has done a tremendous job and her character feels like the hunter, as well as the, hunted at certain times. Sonakshi Sinha serves as a bonus in her cameo appearance in the film. Simone Singh was a delight to watch after so many years.
Laal Kaptaan Movie Review- On The Downside
The biggest underwhelming aspect of the film is its length. The movie is over 2 hours and 30 minutes long which makes the screenplay draggy at times. Also, the screenplay in itself has some big holes. The mystery behind the Sadhu has been concealed up till the audience couldn’t care less and all the build-up seems fruitless. Also, the Sadhu’s pursuit of Rehmat Khan feels exhausting. Plus, there’s no point in a thriller where you can smell the climax from a mile away.
Laal Kaptaan Movie Review- All In All
The movie has its negatives. But for once, let’s at least appreciate the efforts put in by the team in bringing an unexplored world to life. There’s a need to recognise genuine efforts to bring out fresh concepts and new stories for moviegoers. Hence, the film earns full points for at least trying something new.