Vidyut Jammwal is back with his another action flick, and if going by the promos, then the film has somewhat raised its expectations among the viewers. Let’s analyze whether it impresses or disappoints.
Khuda Haafiz is said to be inspired by true events. Sameer Chaudhary (Vidyut Jammwal) gets married to Nargis (Shivaleeka Oberoi). They live in Lucknow. As bad luck would have it, both lose their jobs on the same day due to recession in the economy. They apply for jobs in the Sultanate of Noman through a recruiting agency run by Nadeem (Vipin Sharma). Nargis gets a job before Sameer and she has to, therefore, go to Noman before Sameer. As soon as she reaches there, she is kidnapped and pushed into the flesh trade. It turns out that Itzak Regimi (Nawab Shah) runs a prostitution racket in Noman, and Nargis has been kidnapped by him. Sameer rushes to Noman and, with the help of local cabbie Usman Ali Murad (Annu Kapoor), they both try to find Nargis. Will Sameer save his wife and succeed in his fight against flesh trade mafias in an alien country? What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Screenplay & Direction
Faruk Kabir’s story is interesting in parts but lacks novelty. It starts on an exciting note but becomes routine as it progresses. His screenplay is engaging at places but predictable at others. Lack of novelty is the biggest minus point as one has seen such stories or tracks in earlier films. While the first half is fairly interesting, the same cannot be said of the post-interval portion which is long-winding and also boring at places. Too much usage of Arabic language makes it a little difficult to keep track of the goings-on although those dialogues are subtitled.
Khuda Haafiz has a pretty standard story to say – a template that we have seen in films like Baaghi and Sadak – with some very expected twists and turns. The lack of good surprises is hurting, but the pacing is decent. Also, the antagonists, including a (hardly) surprise third act reveal, are not much memorable or scenery-chewing enough. To be precise, Khuda Haafiz is more of a dramatic thriller with a couple of action scenes. Still, there are a couple of action scenes that do raise the excitement levels, only for one factor or the other to bring it down.
Faruk Kabir’s direction is quite good, but he seems to have lost grip in the second half as far as both, his direction and script are concerned. On the positive side, there are some great dramatic and action moments that sustain interest. Also, the director deserves praise as he doesn’t make the film looks sleazy despite the fact that it deals with trafficking and sex trade. Also, no item song is added for the heck of it.
Khuda Haafiz allows the actor in Vidyut to shine more than the martial arts artist in him, and I really liked what I saw there. Vidyut is very impressive in the dramatic scenes, and it is his performance that lifts the movie. Though he acts rather well but his action scenes are so few that his fans will feel disappointed.
What we don’t understand is why Shivaleeka Oberoi gets so less dialogue. She disappears soon after marriage and we only catch minute glimpses of her in the rest of the movie. We don’t get to know her at all. Shivaleeka Oberoi is pretty, but gets very little scope to perform.
Among the supporting cast, Annu Kapoor impresses. He is excellent and quite endearing. Shiv Panditt leaves a mark with his performance and accent, despite his late entry. Same goes for Aahana Kumra. Ikhlaque Khan is passable. Nawab Shah plays the villainous role well. Vipin Sharma is dependable as always. Gowhar Khan, Shahnawaz Pradhan (Sameer’s father), Gargi Patel (Sameer’s mother), Mohit Chauhan (Nargis’s father), Suparna Marwah (Nargis’s mother), Rio Kapadia (ISA Commissioner Ali Azam Ghazi), Tamara Mirmahsudova (Usman’s wife) and Kinal Muchhala (Sonia Singh; employee at Indian embassy) are fine.
Khuda Haafiz runs on a formulaic template that is made better only by its leading man, Vidyut Jammwal’s restrained performance. Khuda Haafiz truly had the potential to be a cracker of an action-filled romance. But patchy writing has diluted its impact. The only thing that works here, as said earlier, is Vidyut’s virtuosity as an action star.