When you think the movie’s storyline is gaining momentum, there comes an elaborate song-and-dance sequence to rob the storyline of its potential. ‘Yaara,’ Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ambitious buddy-drama, showcases a lot of promise, albeit in patches, but falls way short of expectations.
‘Yaara’ is a story of 4 bootlegger buddies who stick their noses into everything illegal, right from liquor smuggling to arms trafficking. Popularly called the ‘Chaukadi Gang’ (Awesome Foursome), our protagonists come together during the 1950s as children. The movie keeps swinging between the past and the present as we are shown glimpses of the Naxalite movement. Dhulia’s directorial venture touches upon a wide range of themes, right from sexual violence to oppression (and everything in between). The movie can be streamed on Zee5.
Phagun (Vidyut), Mitwa (Amit Sadh), Bahadur (Kenny Basumatary) and Rizwan (Vijay Varma) are four pillars of the Chaukadi Gang. Rizwan, Phagun, and Bahadur move on in life and set up successful businesses, but Mitwa goes underground and begins working for an international underworld don. He returns to India and gets arrested while trying to get in touch with his love interest. So, the other three have to join forces to rescue Mitwa.
Within no time, the movie goes into the flashback mode wherein we are shown a Rajasthani gun manufacturer being forced to commit suicide by an upper-class goon/landlord. A couple of kids (Phagun and Mitwa) are orphaned and go on the run after killing one of the landlord’s goons. About 15 minutes into the film, we see a quartet of boys trying to take on the world.
Quite frankly, the story has an exciting plot. It is a gangster drama set against the backdrop of the Naxalite Movement. It is here that Shruti Haasan, a student committed to Maoism, enters into our protagonists’ lives, and we get to see some student politics, albeit half-baked.
The problem with the story is: it tries to poke its nose into a lot of things at once, and the result is a hotchpotch of epic proportions. Sexual violence, Marxism, bootlegging and gang wars have all been mixed in a king-sized pot to prepare an undercooked gangster drama.
First thing’s first, this Zee Original Film has some immensely-talented actors at its disposal. The likes of Vijay Varma and Amit Sadh are seasoned campaigners. Sadh, in particular, has been associated with Zee5 for quite a while (he also starred in Barot House and Operation Parinday on Zee5)
Vidyut Jammwal has been given the meatiest role of all and tries hard to play the ‘Chaudaki Gang’ self-proclaimed leader. Still, a half-baked storyline doesn’t provide him with an opportunity to rise above the story’s limitations.
Pairing Vidyut alongside Shruti Haasan is bound to raise a few eyebrows as the chemistry between the two is questionable. Also, there is a scene somewhere near the halfway mark wherein the two of them manage to escape an encounter and find themselves in a Naxal-liberated area. A couple of minutes later, the two can be seen singing and dancing, all thanks to a badly-placed romantic number.
Vidyut does some heavy lifting at various junctures during the movie, but he wasn’t given too much to work with, alas! Vijay Varma (man, I loved him in Gully Boy) seems obsessed with Amitabh Bachchan. No matter how dire the situation is, he always has a fancy dialogue in store for the viewers. His performance also leaves a lot to be desired. Up next is Kenny Basumatary, who plays a Nepali guy named Bahadur. Surprisingly, he hasn’t been given a backstory, and the only thing we know about him is: he is a Nepali (and that’s pretty much about it).
Amit Sadh is the only actor to instill some meaning into the film. He hasn’t been given enough screen time but ends up making the most of what he is provided with.
Simply put, there was no room for song-and-dance sequences in this gangster-drama. Stretching a movie’s runtime by adding needless song-and-dance sequences is a criminal offense (pun intended).
Tigmanshu Dhulia is a name associated with quality entertainment. More often than not, his works are flawless (watch Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster, and Paan Singh Tomar). Yaara is no match for some of his most beautiful works. Here’s the problem: Dhulia tries mixing up a lot of things (Marxism, friendship, assault, and betrayal), and ends up creating a tasteless goulash. Also, all of the characters lack depth and appear superficial. Given the kind of films he has directed in the past, ‘Yaara’ comes across as nothing but a disappointment.
You can watch the trailer here.