After the unprecedented success of Netflix-backed Sacred Games, Saif Ali Khan seems to be a roll as he preps up for yet another gripping project titled Baazaar. This time though, he is playing an unabashed baddie Shakun Kothari, business tycoon and a stock market genius who doesn’t believe in sweating it out in the marathon and would rather win the 100 meter sprints each time till he gets where he wants to.
Anybody who’s had the chance of enjoying Khan’s acting in both the Race installments, and has had the misfortune of putting up with Salman Khan’s comic appearance instead in Race 3 would know the makers could not have chosen a better actor to play this role. For Shakun has style, an edgy, sexy hint of arrogance, and a devil-may-care attitude that isn’t very different from what Khan is in real life. But what’s a powerful man without a hungry, ambitious struggler looking for a mentor, wanting to becoming like the mentor?
Enter Rizwan Ahmed (newbie Rohan Mehra), introduced as “Allahabad University ka launda” in his own words, who is eager to work with Shakun Kothari and make it big. Plain and simple. We already see Rizwan has what it takes to rub shoulders with the big guys one fine day, as we see him gulping down coffee that has been spat in – so he could “sell the coffee”. And ta-da, he gets the job!
Rizwan literally worships Kothari as his God, the latter likes him back just as much and likely entrusts with responsibilities not many newbies could ever dream of taking on. But at one point it seems, Shakun gives Rizwan shoes too big for him to wear and warns him, “Mera paisa kabhi khona nai’.
And that quite pointedly lets us have a peek into what happens next!
We have Radhika Apte playing Rizwan’s colleague who quite visibly spices things up, by inviting him to “cross a line” if he wishes to become like her. There is a hint of manipulation and plenty of behind-the-scenes psychological work going on, as Shakun’s down-to-earth wife (Chitrangada Singh) tells him never to break Rizwan’s trust. Rizwan looks trapped, and before long he realizes there is a price one has to pay for everything they want in life.
Sneak peek: Apte looks glamorous and drop-dead gorgeous in the pool shot.
Honestly, Baazaar, sporting a tagline which says, “Bada Aadmi Banna Hai, Toh Line Cross Karni Hogi” does not seem all that novel against the backdrop of similar such projects helmed in Bollywood. For instance, the trailer distinctly reminded me of Kunal Khemu starrer Blood Money (2012) which was touted as a thriller, but failed to wield that spine-chilling effect it so promised. When I see Saif Ali Khan walk, talk and breathe money, I am also reminded of Leonardo Di Caprio’s ambitious, slimy, greedy act in The Wolf of Wall Street.
And while it would be outright blasphemy to compare the two, when given the choice to watch one of Bollywood’s finest baddies in top form (so I can cleanse myself of the trauma Race 3 inflicted earlier this year), I wouldn’t miss it.
Special mention: Honey Singh’s rendition of the peppy, sassy Make Money, Money, Money, Money from the movie after AGES of being off the radar. Don’t know how the movie will fare, but I’m already addicted to the song!