Naam Shabana directed by Shivam Nair, starring Taapsee Pannu, Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher and Danny Denzongpa.
- In 2015, Baby was one of the finest films made and now to have a film set prior to Baby, was exciting to think about and witness to a certain extent. The idea of having a film set prior to the spin-off is risky yet effective. It was informative on the character’s intentions. Despite the film not being as good or better than the Baby, it still was a creative idea of producing something different instead of the typical sequels that Bollywood intends to do.
- The acts are to be lauded because without strong performances, this film could have gone terribly wrong. Taapsee Pannu has been sensational in her previous films and yet again she showcases her acting credentials with another fine performance. Akshay Kumar with a cameo, yet heavily involved and being good at it as always. Having majority of the cast from Baby was a delight to watch. With a better script, it would have been nice to further character contribution to the story.
- What also was an striking were the stunts, fist to fist encounters and that added some thrills to it all. They looked well-choreographed and attention grabbing, those involved managed to sell the action well and that added some sparks to it.
- What disappoints the most, is the lack of intensity and thrills that a film of such calibre should be exhibiting. Look at how impactful the film BABY was. Well, NAAM SHABANA is not on the same levels as it misses key aspects in the screenplay where tension and suspense was a requirement but it was absent. The screenplay has many flaws, the script either seems rushed or lack of prominence given to it considering how the performances overshadows the poor script. A long movie runtime with shortage of adrenaline is a big let-down bearing in mind how much excitement was built up for it. The movie takes too long to keep you fully intrigued in to it, but by then it is too late as the screenplay leading up to it was not attention luring as much as it should have been. Takes too long to establish the plot, motif and the real action.
- For films like these, attention to background score and songs are always significant. Yet this film lacked with these attributes. Not enough gripping music was utilised in majority of the film when it was compulsory. Some of the scoring is decent, but it simply doesn’t do enough in locking you into what is transpiring. The inclusion of songs is a damper to the film, songs are average and they do no justice to it as it only allows more discomfort from the viewing already.
- TAAPSEE PANNU – She packs in a solid performance, putting in a decent act. The ability to show control in protecting herself on screen, Taapsee keeps you engrossed to the film when the script fails to do that. Whilst carrying out the stunts on screen, it looked fitting for the type of film and that justifies her playing the part. A character that barely smiles or enjoys life in the story, Taapsee makes it look so believable and realistic and that what makes you wanting to see what shall transpire for this agent. With a poor screenplay, her opportunity to excel as a solo star is stained by lack of character development, yet she nails it when required to and even at times out performs her co-stars when in the same frame.
- AKSHAY KUMAR – What was scripted as a cameo, turns out to be heavily important not only to the storyline but also to add more to the film which gave little to cheer on. Akshay is always good in the roles he plays and he captivates the screen with his serious persona. He has the aura that instantly enriches the story, from his first entry to his final scene, he keeps the attention present at all times and it was good to bring his character in to support Taapsee.
- PRITHVIRAJ SUKUMARAN – A brilliant actor, has the aura of a villain. he dictates his confident character and is able to add a little bit of suspense to the film. But it seems as if an opportunity is missed by the filmmakers, an actor like Prithviraj would have been ideal to portray more thrills to the film but the poor screenplay does not allow the platform for him to express his capabilities. He tries when given the moment, but that is not enough to letting him showcase how good he really is. Nevertheless, he attracts the attention from the viewers as it builds up some concentration due to his character background and his personality.
- MANOJ BAJPAYEE & ANUPAM KHER – Actors who manage to pick up films with their presence are unable to lift this script, they are decent in their small roles, draw the notice to the story, yet they cannot carry the poorly written screenplay and that affects their characters too as another opportunity is wasted for the characters. Anupam comes in for a very short time whilst manoj is present throughout the assignment but it is all talk from him and that does not allow him to progress further and remain the same throughout.
We rate Naam Shabana 2/5. Potentially an engaging concept but poorly executed. It could have been much better film but the filmmakers fail to capitalise on it and that leaves a disappointing feeling towards a film with such high expectations. The standout from the film can only be the actors, their performances were brilliant, well at least for the main stars whilst the co-stars who have a supporting role are wasted with lack of character development. There are some things that can be highlighted from the film such as the dialogues were notable, stunts were praise able and some areas of cinematography was likeable. But the biggest let down comes down to the script which is poorly written, lack of innovation and execution. But what the film tries to portray is a positive message, once again Bollywood is paving importance to women, giving them a platform to dominate and it also was delightful to see a female character heading towards trouble to tackle the problems. Overall, it is a decent watch but pack away all the high expectations as the film is average.