Wazir could have been a hit like Talaash. Farhan Akhtar’s mustache will agree with me here. Set in Delhi, Wazir was meant to be an intriguing thriller with a murderous plot and emotional threads but owing to the sheer pace of the film, it turns into a predictable bore of a meandering story.
The always-dependable Farhan Akhtar hams it up as Danish Ali, an anti-terrorism squad officer who is more impulsive than calculating. On seeing a wanted terrorist while spending the day with his family, he doesn’t even think it important to first let his daughter out of the car before chasing a terrorist. Consequently, his daughter dies and his relationship with his wife (Aditi Rao Hydari) is all but ruined. Enters Amitabh Bachchan as Pandit Omkarnath Dhar, a wheelchair-bound chess teacher. Disabled from being impulsive, he is extremely calculative. Panditji too has lost a daughter and he offers Danish solace, empathy and a healthy distraction in the form of chess.
It’s not known why Danish takes to Panditji at all. It isn’t clear what really endears him to this senile man, who blindly blames one person for his daughter’s death and believes it was murder. (He has apparently concluded that from just a look at the murderer’s eyes.) For most of the movie, Danish doesn’t care either way. He is happy to have found a friend in the same way that Panditji is happy to find someone to smile with.
Most of the movie is focused on this budding bromance. You have to hand it to Amitabh Bachchan. His experience speaks for itself. His monologues and moving speeches are tremendously effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if he convinces a stone to melt itself. Slowly and surely, he gains Danish’s trust and fixes his marriage. Danish, in turn, gets more and more emotionally attached to Panditji.
All this eventually culminates in a truly-exhilarating chase sequence through the jam-packed posh streets of modern Delhi. What goes wrong is that the bad guy is revealed quite early on and all that’s left to find out is why he is the way he is. There’s no dilemma in the audience’s mind about whether our two heroes are blaming the right person or not or even whether they themselves are right in their heads or not (which had worked so well in Talaash).
There isn’t any thorough investigation either or undercover detective work on Danish’s side to prove or disprove his friend. Instead we get a snail-paced wild goose chase for a dangerous henchman of the villain who calls himself ‘Wazir’.
And that’s my problem – the film is not dramatic. There’s not enough suspense. If only the movie were faster and denser, I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a Vidhu Vinod Chopra script for you – old school in a modern era. Sometimes it works very well, captivating the audience using pre-modern plot lines but Wazir has proven that for this particular genre, the audience has moved on.