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‘Aiyaary’ has an intriguing storyline delivered with measured performances that make it a worthwhile watch, but those expecting the clever Neeraj Pandey twists will probably be left wanting more.

Aiyaary (English: Disguising) is a 2018 Indian action thriller film written and directed by Neeraj Pandey. Produced by Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Gada & Motion Picture Capital and distributed by Reliance Entertainment, Plan C Studios, Friday Filmworks & Pen India Limited. The film features Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee, Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra, Adil Hussain, Kumud Mishra, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher. After having its release date rescheduled from 26 January to 9 February to yet another week,it was released on February 16, 2018

Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5

ARMED WITH FINE ACTING

Aiyaary Story: An Indian Army officer is compelled to chase down his protege when the latter turns rogue and threatens to disrupt the country’s government and army.

Aiyaary Review: ‘Aiyaary’ has all the makings of a Neeraj Pandey thriller. The honest and dutiful officer Colonel Abhay Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) leads covert operations with a select group of officers. Things go awry for him and his team when Sidharth Malhotra’s Jai Bakshi – the brightest of the lot – goes rogue. Abhay Singh has to track him down while defending everything he believes in.

Neeraj Pandey’s movies are known for strong character actors, and this one’s no different. To no one’s surprise, the always reliable Manoj Bajpayee gives another compelling turn as a steadfast officer bound by duty. He is the backbone of the film and is believable as a man capable of going to great lengths to complete the task at hand. Although his intent to take down his own protege is clear, his conundrum while chasing Jai Bakshi is palpable.

Speaking of which, Sidharth Malhotra is at home playing an officer who becomes disillusioned by the system he has sworn to uphold. He brings a methodical, calm and collected demeanor to Jai Bakshi, and is suitably convincing as a soldier whose skills put him one step ahead of his superiors. Rakul Preet Singh brings a lot of charm to her role but merely ends up being Jai’s love interest. Thankfully, not much time is wasted on their romance. Pooja Chopra starts off with a hint of potential but her character Maya only gets to play a loyalist to Abhay Singh. Among the Neeraj Pandey favorites – Anupam Kher as Tariq Ali feels underutilized. Although Naseeruddin Shah’s Baburao is locked away for most of the film, he becomes relevant at a crucial point, where the thespian more than makes up for his absence. Unfortunately, it comes a little too late in the film.

‘Aiyaary’ has quite a few lethargic scenes that are long-drawn and don’t do much to further the story or add to the characters. The complexity of the overarching plot allows for some exposition, but the screenplay goes overboard and often loses pace. The film could make a far more intriguing watch with a tighter edit devoid of all the dramatized entries and exits. Those expecting the clever Neeraj Pandey twists will be left wanting more. But ‘Aiyaary’ has measured performances that resound louder than its bombastic score, and they alone make it a worthwhile watch.

In-depth Analysis

Our overall critic’s rating is not an average of the sub scores below.

Direction:
3.0/5
Dialogues:
3.5/5
Screenplay:
3.0/5
Visual appeal:
3.5/5
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