MOVIE: Naam Shabana
CAST: Taapsee Pannu, Manoj Bajpayee, Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran
DIRECTOR: Shivam Nair
GENRE: Bollywood action spy-thriller
Spin-offs are not much common in Bollywood and Naam Shabana is one such rare attempt. Being a spin-off of hit movie Baby with Taapsee Pannu portraying the character of Shabana, Naam Shabana is a decent action movie, but better not be compared with Baby.
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Naam Shabana is primarily about the history of Taapsee's character Shabana, and how she got into the service of a secret agent. Shabana is a common girl, belonging to a middle-class family. The only thing that makes her stand out from most other girls is her passion for martial arts, and a tragic background.
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First part of the movie mainly delves into Shabana's dark history, and her brief love-life. It is the second half of the film that brings out the real fighter in her. Ranvir Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) handles a secret national defence agency, for which he hires Shabana as a secret agent as per a deal. While she is already blessed with good level of martial arts, Shabana is further trained to tackle all kinds of hostile situations.
Her training continues till she gets her first big mission, that is, to eliminate Tony (Prithviraj Sukumaran), with assistance from other two senior members of the team — Ajay Singh (Akshay Kumar) and Om Prakash Shukla (Anupam Kher). Tony is an internationally wanted criminal, who is the lead man behind arms smuggling in India and some other neighbouring countries. When several other men from the agency are killed in attempt to eliminate Tony, will Shabana be able to accomplish the big task? That makes the crux of the story.
Naam Shabana is unique in a way that no other Bollywood action movie has been made before, showing a female spy as the lead. Taapsee has a number action sequences in the film, and she did it with fair amount of precision. Apart from throwing punches and kicks, there is one particular emotional scene where she shows excellent acting prowess while narrating her sad history to her boyfriend. Akshay has a considerable screen presence in the second half of the movie and it certainly makes it livelier.
The biggest drawback of Naam Shabana is that it has been dragged too much at many points. Apart from the concluding action sequence, there is not a single moment in the film that will make you much excited. Also, the screenplay appears little jumbled up at times.
BABY vs NAAM SHABANA
If Naam Shabana is compared with Baby, the former has very little to make the audience impressed. While Baby has a couple of adrenaline-rushing action sequences, only the climax fight scene is noteworthy in Naam Shabana. Also, it appears much predictable.
Naam Shabana is a decent action flick, in which Taapsee did her part pretty well, accompanied by Akshay's much-required extended cameo. However, comparing it with Baby, will definitely make you disappointed.