2007-2013 was a dark year for India. Serial bomb blasts in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and other major cities killed almost 400 people and injured many. One man and his network of ISI sponsored operatives were the ones responsible for the well-planned massacre. Founder of the Indian Mujahideen, the Ghost Of Bombs as the Intelligence agencies called him, Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa AKA Yasin Bhatkal was at the top of NIA’s most wanted list for almost a decade. Arjun Kapoor’s spy thriller India’s Most Wanted refuses to take names but is most definitely a story of how this wanted terrorist was arrested at the Indo-Nepal border without firing a single bullet.
Arjun Kapoor sheds his star status for this thriller and his conventional looks (yes that’s correct... look around you) only add to the character he plays: a third generation intelligence officer, Prabhat Kapoor. While all Indian agencies are busy moving memos at the secretariat about Yusuf’s (Bhatkal obviously) whereabouts, Prabhat’s contact in Nepal has a tip that could change the game. The Babus, however, are too keen to go by the book, the memo in this case, and refuse to take their brightest officer seriously.
Director Rajkumar Gupta is a master of simplicity, he works well with actors and it was good to see him bring out the performer in Kapoor. He surrounds Arjun with able character actors and uses Kapoor’s ‘smoulder’ to good effect. Your heart goes out to the crew when in a scene Arjun and his team dip into their own personal savings to make the trip to apprehend the terror mastermind. He uses real location to the film’s advantage and ropes in talent from Nepal to add the authenticity that a film like this demands.
The writing, though, is simple. Sudev Nair as Yusuf is somewhat wasted in the film and that’s not such a good thing if the film revolves around his arrest in the first place. Gupta clutters his canvas with Prabhat’s struggles of fighting the system to get to the man who has killed hundreds back home. Most of these are about the budget problems that his team is going to face, not to mention backup. One can only point at the Netflix series Delhi Crimes, where the personal struggles of the investigating team were so aptly presented without really disturbing the main narrative.
We see very little of Yusuf’s personality. Very little of what he was planning while Prabhat and his team work hard to track him down. The fact that Prabhat’s team could not carry any weapons on this dangerous mission was a wonderful opportunity for some clever writing but barring a few instances, Gupta continues to bore us with phone calls for permissions.
Arjun Kapoor carries a lot of the film singlehandedly and digs into whatever the director of films like No One Killed Jessica, Raid and Aamir has to offer. There are no forced song and dance sequences in this one and that’s a saving grace. Watch India’s Most Wanted for Arjun Kapoor and his band of brothers. It’s a story of guts and pride.Read More