India's Most Wanted Review

“India’s Most Wanted” becomes a tepid example of a thriller that (almost) never thrills. Technically, the film is average in all departments, and will need a lot of luck to score high or even open well. (photo provided)

Raapchik Productions and Fox Star Studio present “India’s Most Wanted”

Produced by: Raj Kumar Gupta & Myra Karn

Written and directed by: Rajkumar Gupta

Music: Amit Trivedi

Starring: Arjun Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma, Jitendra Shastri, Sudev Nair, Prasanth Alexandrr, Bittu, Gaurav Mishra, Bajrangbali Singh & others

MUMBAI—In the current scenario in which any subject is accepted if well-made, there is a (comparative) surfeit of patriotic thrillers. However, their innate caliber has been greatly different, from a “Parmanu” to a “URI” to a “The Tashkent Files” to the weak “RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter)” and more.

Sadly, after a lot of expectations from writer-director Raj Kumar Gupta after “No One Killed Jessica” (decent) to “Raid” (gripping and exciting), “India’s Most Wanted” becomes a tepid example of a thriller that (almost) never thrills. The unique opening sequence (of a kidnapped doctor) is over in seconds. The sequences in Nepal are often confusing, and whether slow-paced or very fast, quite dull.

Worse: there are sporadic cities shown with sudden blasts happening, and after two or three, these become very predictable, followed by the expected comments and sequences of a programmed terrorist named Yusuf (Sudev Nair), who is one of those harmless-looking villainous characters (which is where films like “Baby” and “Holiday” lost out a bit on the punch). Yusuf talks each time about the “kaafir” (non-believers in Allah) and “jannat” (Heaven) and poses as a doctor, engineer et al.

One sequence tests your logic. If Yusuf was in Nepal at the time, how did the last blast (shown in Delhi) happen? There are several illogical and simplistic things happening, but all with the punch of a pricked balloon. As in “RAW,” the climax is a letdown. Yes, the most wanted terrorist in this reworking of a real story was caught without a single bullet being fired, but why did Gupta (originally starting out with an Anurag Kashyap production in “Aamir”) have the delusion that this ALSO meant you need not have a single solid punch in the script?

The film reminds you in part of the gripping but overlong “Aiyaary” in its placid narration, but the punches there and the story were much more exciting – Gupta gets slightly into an arty kind of zone. Yet, “Aiyaary” had nosedived.

This time, Arjun Kapoor, as the protagonist Prabhat, hardly impresses. He is largely his usual self, and truth be told, the script does not give him any meat. He is, thus, just alright. Rajesh Sharma, as his sincere superior, is also okay. Jitendra Shastri as the informer shines, especially when he uses his eyes. Nair is a letdown as Yusuf, and the hero’s motley group of assistants, are adequate. It is the casting director and the costume designer who deserve encomiums for their perfect looks.

Technically, the film is average in all departments, and Nepal does not look uniformly appetizing. The editing is languid, and the music and background score hardly help.

The film will need a lot of luck to score high or even open well.

Rating: **1/2

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