Khuda Haafiz (2020)

First off, this is not a love story so don’t go in expecting one. It’s a serious, grounded, emotional action thriller in which Vidyut Jammwal underplays himself without sacrificing a bit of the action we expect from him. I must say that this is the best Bollywood action film in a long time, because it doesn’t hold back in terms of action and gore (which is pretty heavy so won’t recommend it for young viewers), and is also fast-paced. Any other director could’ve spent one hour dragging the story to the interval point. What we get instead is director Faruk Kabir brilliantly directing the film and keeping it watertight.

Khuda Haafiz is purely entertaining. It chooses a serious real event as the backdrop for the buildup, and then delivers unabashed fun as it quickly cuts to the chase, with Sameer (Vidyut Jammwal) wandering in search of his missing wife and… you know what he’s best at, right?

The film has strong performances coming not just from Jammwal (who was really believable and convinced me he was vulnerable, worried and scared) but also from Annu Kapoor, Shiv Pandit and Aahana Kumra. The technical aspects are impressive, and it indeed looks like a film meant to be enjoyed better on the big screen. Nevertheless, it’s brave on the part of the makers to embrace the digital release.

And yes, the action sequences were literally outstanding. I didn’t feel like I was watching a Bollywood film. The fight scenes were raw, chaotic and gory: something that made delighted that finally, finally a Bollywood film is delivering action as raw as any other similar action thriller from Hollywood. The chase sequences were also beautifully shot.

It’s been long since a Bollywood release excited me. Khuda Haafiz, while not the most original film of its type, is smartly plotted, well acted, filled with intense action and is possibly the sign that there are filmmakers who will keep Bollywood moving in the right direction, no matter how much some people try to stop or demotivate them.

Review by Prashast Singh

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