Batla House movie review: Powerfully Topical & Essential

BATLA HOUSE movie review is here. Releasing on 15 August 2019, the action drama thriller directed by Nikkhil Advani is based on the 2008 Batla House encounter. The movie stars John Abraham in the lead role of DCP Special Cell = Sanjeev Kumar Yadav – the most decorated cop in India. Does BATLA HOUSE fulfils the expectations?. Let’s find out in the movie review of BATLA HOUSE.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
Encounters are not always cool, but John Abraham as DCP Special Cell = Sanjeev Kumar Yadav is super cool, restrained, matured, nuanced and ‘balanced’ in this main stream/massy hot cake that entertains, enlightens and questions as well.

The Story of BATLA HOUSE
Based on the Batla House encounter that is officially known as Operation Batla House that took place on 19 September 2008, against Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi. Two terrorists were killed while two other were arrested, one managed to escape. John Abraham plays DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav who headed the operation, Mrunal Thakur plays Nandita Yadav (Sanjeev Kumar’s wife) and Ravi Kishan plays KK –the Police Inspector who attained martyrdom during the operation.

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BATLA HOUSE movie review
A massy/crowd pleasing distillation of Operation Batla House and its aftermath that debates on heroisms, valour, faith, religion, the politics behind with humanity, duty and patriotisms coined with guilt, ethics and determination. Batla House encounter attracted many eye balls and triggered a debate. Writer Ritesh Shah pens a crowd pleaser that has some clap worthy dialogues like “Ek terrorist ko marne ke liy sarkaar…Jo rakam deti hai…..Usse jayada toh..Ek tarrafic ploice hawaldaar ek hafte mein kama sakta hai”. and moments that distinguishes itself from the routine action thrillers.

Director Nikkhil Advani’s narration is well etched for the target audience; a couple of scene developments are extraordinary for example the interrogation of Tufail (Alok Pandey) where John Abraham reads the holy book in Arabic and explains the meaning of ‘good deeds’ to the brainwashed ‘innocent’ Tufail it’s a telling scene and revealing more will label me as a spoiler. The continuous haunt of guilt that follows DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav and the way media perceives things and turns judgmental running its own court of law in their studios are another areas where the movie peeks in.

Liberties are taken and there is dramatization of the incident for big screen but it’s remarkably restrained and not over the top. Nikkhil Advani smartly escapes from being preachy in this escapism, names are changed and real stock footages are used to amalgamate fiction with reality. The balance is maintained and it’s not an out and out knock out action packed thriller, it’s more of a drama and debate.

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John Abraham as Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in my opinion is his best performance till date. Going de glam and maintaining a posture and body language that is dipped in the skin of the character, John Abraham surpasses himself as an actor. The interrogation of Tufail, the remorse shared with his senior Manish Chaudhari as Police Commissioner Jaivir are just a couple of example. Mrunal Thakur as Nandita Yadav – Sanjeev’s wife is refined. She displays subtlety in the elegantly played role of a wife, friend and lover of Sanjeev Kumar. Ravi Kishan as KK is fantastic and has its moments. Manish Chaudhari as Police Commissioner Jaivir is competent. Sahidur Rahman as Dilshad Ahmed is perfect. Kranti Prakash Jha as Adil Ameen is the right choice. Alok Pandey as Tufail has its defining moments, the actor nicely portray the vulnerability of a misguided innocent youth in the name of religion. Nora Fatehi gets some meat in her role apart from the Saki Saki number and she provides justice in her full capacity. Rajesh Sharma as the defense lawyer is fantastic. Amruta Sant as Shraddha the activist is also good.

Soumik Mukherjee’s cinematography is realistic, Editing by Maahir Zaveriis fine. Production Design by Priya Suhas and costume by Sheetal Sharma give the required authenticity. Stunts by Mohd. Amin Khatib is thrilling.

Music by Tanishk Bagchi, Vishal Dadlani and Ankit Tiwari is just passable.

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Flaws
BATLA HOUSE is tense throughout and barely has moments of sly humour and sarcasm that would have pushed the envelope much further. It lacks that solid political statement and the final moments seem to be done in a hurry. Something more on KK was required and why the movie has to begin with a friction between Sanjeev and Nandita?

Final words
BATLA HOUSE is a massy/crowd pleasing distillation of Operation Batla House that manages to share some facts on heroisms, valour, faith, religion and the politics behind. It also checks the reality between fake and real encounters, the ethics behind protest where John Abraham surpasses himself as an actor as DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. Going with generous four – an extra for John, and the topicality odf the subject. 

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Critic Rating

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