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LAAL KAPTAAN - Probably the most weird and directionless project of the year with an otherwise commendable presentation and art-design. (Review by Bobby Sing)

19 Oct, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2019 Releases

Though director Navdeep Singh’s earlier two films were highly influenced/inspired from English movies [MANORAMA 6 FEET UNDER / CHINATOWN (1974) and NH10/EDEN LAKE (2008)], they still were more than decent films winning critical acclaim. So as a filmgoer one could expect anything from the director but not an entirely visionless, confused and unengaging film as his third directorial venture, to be honest.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Navdeep comes up with as LAAL KAPTAAN in which, he (this time) seems to be inspired from the Western Cowboy movies and Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN at the back of his mind. 
Having such a thrilling as well as promising premise of a Naga Sadhu going for his revenge in a period saga, LAAL KAPTAAN could have been a great thriller to watch featuring Saif Ali Khan as the unusual, mysterious bearded sage and actors like Deepak Dobriyal, Aamir Bashir, Neeraj Kabi, Manav Vij, Zoya Hussain and Simone Singh playing the key roles. However it’s really sad that it overall remains a quite bizarre and directionless attempt, more or less leaving you in a quite baffled state.
Stating the technical merits, the director works hard with his cinematographer, art-action director, poster-designer, BGM composer and look expert together and delivers an almost perfect film in terms of presentation, camerawork and art design. But all this could have worked, if the viewers used to watch films for these technical aspects only. Wish even half of this hard work was done on the storytelling and script of the film.
In reality LAAL KAPTAAN fails to rise above its technical excellence along with a brave, visible effort put in by the cast led by an impressive Saif Ali Khan. And it’s really a pity watching a film betraying an actor taking all the risk, agreeing to such an unfamiliar role that has never been tried before by a mainstream star in Hindi cinema.
Set in the 18th Century depicting the period of Pathans, Mughals, Marathas and British clashing with each other, the film is no doubt and ambitious leap for Navdeep Singh as a director showcasing his visual flair. But at the same time it nowhere shows any glimpses of the storyteller we had earlier witnessed in his first two movies. 
Anyway, at the end of more than two hours of a weird chaos created by the overcrowded characters, more than 3-4 languages/dialects, a senseless one scene cameo of Sonakshi Sinha and everything uninteresting, the film gives you nothing in terms of entertainment and even performances (except the lead), giving you the brutal truth. Cannot say, what Navdeep Singh actually had in mind or what he really wished to make as his biggest attempt of the career. But it certainly is not anything even close to what might have got approved by the production house. Perhaps they all knew it and therefore decided to release the film without spending any extra amount on its publicity and TV promotion.
So, in case you also felt excited expecting a lot from a well-designed, unique film revolving around a fearless and deadly Naga Sadhu, then the end result might not please you too. But in case you are a true fan of Saif Ali Khan then here he is in elements yet again, reminding you of his Langda Tyagi, with a commendable transformation putting life into an extremely difficult role.
On a concluding note, Hindi filmmakers often forget content, focusing more on the look and style in their brave experimental projects. And that’s where the filmmakers of our Regional Languages Cinema score as well as excel. 
In other words, Hindi cinema regularly comes up with films like LAAL KAPTAAN and then complains that Hindi film viewers don't visit theaters to watch their experimental cinema.
In reality, every LAAL KAPTAAN seriously hurts the box office prospects of at least next five TUMBBADs in the making.
But then, as a strange irony, the promotional tagline of LAAL KAPTAAN itself says, 
“From the makers of TUMBBAD”. 

Rating : 2 / 5

Tags : LAAL KAPTAAN Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing
19 Oct 2019 / Comment ( 0 )
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