As the saying goes, Mumbai never sleeps. That’s almost true. Almost, because it doesn’t let many sleep either. Rohan Mehra aka Rizwan Ahmed, a dreamer from Allahabad, makes his way into this chaotic Baazaar. Is it an over boundary, or is he just another loser, booking his train back home?
To begin with, Saif Ali Khan’s latest outing may get too technical for many. The film intensely revolves around the stock market, its rise, fall and impact. That, in turn, directly influences a number of sub-plots and relationships. This might prove to be a con, especially in smaller cities. Rizwan, who succeeds at the task to convincing his dejected father, finally escapes to Mumbai and wants to work with business tycoon Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan). But that’s what thousands of stock brokers like him dream of doing. He begins with small steps, which are just as big for him anyway. On the way, he stumbles upon Priya Rai (Radhika Apte) who begins as a colleague and ends up being his romantic interest.
First and foremost, Rohan Mehra’s character is unconvincing. He is a small broker from a small town who arrives in the dream city, rents a room for Rs 15,000 a month, stares at a high rise building from his balcony and mutters, main yahan struggle karne nahi, settle hone aaya hoon. That’s not the best spirit in which you want to sketch a character that has left home banking only on his ambitions. He then lands this job because his boss spots him waiting outside the very glamorous and kind of intimidating corporate office. Later he lands his first client because well, lady luck was kind at that particular moment. How convenient!
It does get a little more interesting when Saif Ali Khan enters the scene. He comes with a background story (of being a smart child from a humble family, meeting the right mentor and wooing his beautiful daughter for his own interest, his ideas of right and wrong), a rather cold marriage with Mandira Parekh (Chitrangada Singh) and uninterrupted love for his daughters, both of who aren’t sure if their father is a good man or a bad man. There are plenty of layers to Shakun Kothari. You might find him cunning, but you can’t entirely dislike him.
Saif Ali Khan is dark and delicious. Both his Gujarati accent and his defeating grins are a winner. Baazaar really struggles to drag itself forward at times. But Saif almost pulls it off alone. We love how he has dived into the bottom of being Shakun Kothari, and truly becomes one. As a result, Rohan Mehra is often meek and overshadowed. Mehra does his try best, though.
The two people this film entirely underutilizes are its actresses. Radhika Apte, who has a major twist to play at the end, is nowhere near her signature self here. Anyone else could have done what she does. Chitrangada, on the other hand, looks gorgeous but has been given very little to do apart from feeling sorry about being a cunning businessman’s wife and putting up with too much including her husband’s liking for other women.
Gauravv Chalwa’s direction has all the right intentions, all of which do not work out. Baazaar often loses out on its pace and grip.
However, after Sacred Games, if you were yearning to get a good show of Saif Ali Khan on the big screen, this one is for you. Or else, giving Baazaar a miss won’t hurt!