A distraught mother is worried that her son has not visited her in India for over three years. She visits a very important 'baba', who people wait for days together to have their name called out to meet him.
Janardhan's mother is the lucky one in the opening scene as she gets her chance to pour her heart out to the 'baba'. She tells him that her son, who is in Bangkok, has not answered her calls nor visited her. Difficult to believe that Janardhan aka Johnny would do that to his mother, because he is quite a grounded lad.
One look at Johnny's kundli
and the 'baba' asks her if she has a twin son. Later, he tells her that he can use tantric powers and help her son tide through the bad time he will currently encounter. This is for a good cause he explains.
Cut to Bangkok where we are shown Johnny having a good time with girls. His need for wanting to make fast money, however, gets him in trouble as his boss has tracked his emails and has proof to his 'insider trading'. Ten years in jail is what he is looking at. She offers him a way out: three days in Pattaya and a murder.
In Pattaya, a genie appears when he is shoved with a gun in hand. And here is where the mystery of the twin unravels. The genie (sent by the 'baba' through his tantric powers), gives Johnny 72 hours and the luxury to live two lives. In one life, he will do as his boss wants him to do and in another he will not commit the murder.
At the end of 72 hours, he will have to choose the life he wants: the one where he killed or the one where he saved the one he was supposed to kill.
Interesting premise and an interesting cat-and-mouse game as director Shivam Nair gets the camera rolling for a thrilling ride. He packs the pieces of the two lives well as Johnny, out to save himself from distress, manages both the lives well. There's plenty of action, thrill and drama as both lives intersperse on screen, giving one that adrenalin rush.
The entire first half is taut and thrilling. But Nair let go of his grip in the second as the film starts slipping a bit. The angle of the interpreter of the Bangkok Embassy who Johnny meets in the life he has killed his victim is out of context. There is no seamless fluidity of her character into the entire proceeding.
Also, out of the blue, Nair introduces two songs just after a thrilling chase. It slows down the proceedings and takes off the steam from the scenes. When will our directors learn that a song is not a must in films!
Kunal Khemu as Johnny the Casanova trapped in his mess is impressive. The lad is earnest in his performance and goes that extra mile to impress. Had the second half been more taut, this movie would have done wonders to his character. Another character who brings earnestness in her performance is Zoa Morani as Tanya, the one Johnny is sent to kill. The girl portrays her subdued character with the right amount of honesty, is a treat to watch on screen and has that right amount of sexiness which she displays in right doses towards the end.
Manasi Scott gets her first big break on screen as the bad girl and she does a decent job. Another aspect of this multi-talented singer revealed on screen. Having said that there was ample scope for her to inject more evil in her display as the mean boss who wants Tanya killed.
Mandana Karimi has an ill-fitting character as the interpreter whilst Mukul Dev looks like he has walked from the set of MEEERUTHIYA GANGSTERS (released last week) straight into this flick.
All in all, BHAAG JOHNNY is a good one time watch. Moreover, it is the best movie this week.