Certificate: U/A

Director: Neeraj Pandey

Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra & others

Story & Screenplay: Neeraj Pandey

Music: Ankit Tiwari & Rochak Kohli

Plan C Studios, PEN, Friday Filmworks and Reliance Entertainment’s AIYAARY is an espionage thriller which follows the story of a secret agency within the Indian intelligence group which is head by Col. Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee), the team also consists of Major Jai Bakshi (Sidharth Malhotra) and Captain Maya Semwal (Pooja Chopra) and others. The story begins with Malhotra’s character going rouge on his unit as he has got some really sensitive information while listening into some important people’s conversation. He wants to sell the information to the highest bidder, helping him in all of this is his girlfriend and computer wizkid Sonia Gupta (Rakul Preet Singh). On the other hand, a retired army general Gurinder Singh (Kumud Mishra) threatens to reveal the secret agency in public domain if the army General Pratak Mailk (Vikram Gokhale) doesn’t buy tanks for his source at four times the price. The government says that they will declare the unit unknown if its identity is out in the open. The film then becomes a ticking time bomb and how the entire cat and mouse game comes to an end.

From the onset, there some brilliantly executed moments in the movie from the Cairo shootout to the whole two different stories from the Kashmir episode. There is a sense of a proper thriller in these moments but the issue is that there are very few of them to keep the whole thing going. The biggest issue with the movie is the pacing of it all. The story is paper thin and with that you cannot have a runtime of a movie going over 2 hours 40 minutes long. A smart espionage thriller needs to be bubbling with tension and thrill both of which are in scarcity in this one. The movie is about the quality of being a shape shifter that’s what the word AIYAARY means but it’s not shown in the movie at all. The filmmaker just touches those ideas briefly but never actually gets into any of it all which is a big shame. The climax of the movie is a total and complete let down there is nothing which connects the entire almost three hours of movie in the final few moments of the movie which is a big shame. Another thing is that in the whole movie everyone is just walking and that becomes extremely tiresome to endure given the snail pace of the movie as well.

Production values are good. The movie is set up elaborately and the big scale is evident throughout. Cinematography by Sudheer Palsane is good. Editing by Praveen Kathikuloth is a big letdown. Music by Ankit Tiwari and Rochack Kohli is average as there is no track with stays with you when the movie ends.

Performance wise, Sidharth Malhotra gives one of his finest performances till date. He is very well composed and lets his craft do the talking in this one. Manoj Bajpayee as usual is at his peak. His prowess as an actor shines in this one like in most of his work. Rakul Preet Singh is okay, she tries but is flat in many of her scenes. Pooja Chopra does a good job. Juhi Babbar is great as Bajpayee’s wife. Kumud Mishra is decent while Vikram Gokhale does a great job. Naseruddin Shah in a small cameo leaves the desired impact. Anupam Kher does a great job in his special appearance. Adil Hussain is loud. Others in the cast provide able support.

As a director, Neeraj Pandey disappoints as he pens a half baked script. He is able to get some great performances from the actors but they’re also letdown by the faulty script.

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