Naseeruddin Shah gives a lesson in acting in BARAH AANA, which is worth a million bucks. That he is a brilliant actor is a given. His performances in the past and the more recent ones have had the cynics, critics and his fans watching in rapt attention when he comes on screen. In this film, he does not speak for a full three-quarter of the film. But his acting speaks volumes. No, he is not playing a dumb character, but leaves everyone dumbfounded with his super body language that portrays every emotion he is going through.
Another performer who hits out at you is Tanisha Chatterjee. This chatterbox of a character who is in love with Aman (Arjun Mathur, very competent) leaves no doubt about her abilities as an actor. She portrays the pesky girl who is besotted by the good-looking Aman in her chawl to such a believable extent that you can feel the pulse of her emotions at the common tap, where they always bump into each other.
Then there is Vijay Raaz, who as the watchman of a housing society, brings to light, the plight of thousands of migrants who land in the city in the hope of making a living. A security guard is now the surest way of landing a job. No, you don't have to be 'super fit', or have any basic knowledge of security. Just switching the tap on and off is enough along with running errands for the society members. Double duty now seems to be the bane of housing societies who always find their guards sleeping not knowing that the poor man has been up since early morning!
Director Raja Menon begins well in depicting the lives of three such migrants who live in the same chawl. Naseeruddin Shah (Shukla) is a driver; Vijay Raaz plays Yadav while Arjun is a waiter at a local cafe. They all lead diverse lives, making ends meet with what they get at the end of the month. Shukla is being ridiculed by his boss's wife who leaves no opportunity to insult him, while Aman is madly in love with a foreign guest at his cafe, Kate (Violante Placido). He in turn, is being chased by Rani (Tanisha Chaterjee).
Yadav has a situation back in the village where he has to send money for his ailing father. No one at the housing society comes forward to help and it is left upto Shukla to help him out. But fate plays a cruel trick on Yadav as he is robbed at the station.
Forlorn, he spends time sitting at a food stall when three drunks drive up for a bite. They call out to him but Yadav does not respond. One smart guy gets out to 'teach' him a lesson but ends up being the victim. He gets a solid whack from Yadav that sends him reeling on the floor. Until here, Menon has got the track right. After this, the screenplay takes a nose-dive.
Yadav gets the unconscious man at home (there was no reason to do so). But I guess this was to support the madness, Menon was to step down to. Yadav calls the man's family and tells them he is unconscious. Thinking he has been kidnapped, they force him to take money. Yadav agrees and makes a quick Rs 30,000 without the knowledge of the other two. It's only when he goes to give them their share of Rs 10,000 that they realise what he has been up to. They then agree to make it their business to kidnap people and ask ransom.
While the first half of the film is thoroughly enjoyable, the second half slides rapidly. To Menon's credit, he does succeed in touching upon everyday situations that you can immediately relate to.