The unknown under–belly of UP comprising 1.2 million vote bank for the dividing politicians, where kids are groomed to get criminal expertise. It’s their daily routine, their rozi–roti after all…
Young Baabarr (Rahil) lives with his big family in Amanganj (modeled after the famous Aminabad of Lucknow) headed by Sarfaraz (Shakti Kapoor) and a handful of hot blooded brothers. In self defense, a murder is committed by Sarfaraz. He is behind bars and young Baabarr takes the gun in his hand. The proceedings change his life altogether, and in due course he grows up (as Soham) to become a dreaded goon of the area – involved in extortion, murders, kidnapping et al. Tabrez (Sushant Singh) runs his rival gang and they don’t see eye to eye. Both have cover from corrupt policemen, including Chaturvedi (Om Puri), and politicians, including Bhaiyya Ji (Govind Namdeo).
Baabarr is close to his Mamu (Tinu Anand) and closer to Mamu’s daughter Zia (Urvashi Sharma), who is head over heals for him. But he marries his childhood friend Afreen (Kashish Khan). Together he and his elder brother Nawaaz (Mukesh Tiwari) are headache for police force and the ruling party. Under pressure from the opposition, the CM appoints Mrityunjay Dwivedi (Mithun) to control the crime scene. Baabarr keeps on making new enemies, including Bhaiyya Ji (by killing a person under his safety band) and the CM himself (by attempting on the life on his brother, the deputy CM). This infuriates the top brass, and suddenly life starts taking dangerous turns…
Underworld is not a new subject for Hindi films, but most of them concentrate on the Mumbai region. Ashu Trikha dares to go to the interiors and comes up with a competent and authentic scenario, ably supported by solid and believable performances by the actors. Ikram Akhtar and Vivek Mishra do a decent job with the screenplay and sharp dialogue. Suhas Gujarati’s investigative camera captures the smallest corners effectively, and the editing is also crisp.
All of these create a story close to reality, showing the background in which crime is born, the on–going tussle for survival and how they are used by the corrupt system. All this is done without praising any of the sides. Shot at realistic locations at Lucknow, Unnao and Kanpur, gives it better look and feel. There are direct and obvious references to the in–power ministers and those in opposition. Narration by an under–age (and future gangster) kid is also a new experiment. At one instance a direct “by order” board declares the end of GOI LOC and beginning of Bhaiyya Ji’s area; truly depicts the state of affairs of the biggest state of the country (and probably the whole country as well!!).
Performances: Newcomer Soham delivers believable performance and infuses raw energy in his character. Mithun, Mukesh Tiwari, Tinu Anand give good and controlled performances. Sushant Singh has already perfected himself in such roles. Urvashi Sharma (after wasting two precious years) gets a good role at last. Om Puri takes the cake as the two sided sword in his shrewd and cunning police officer’s role.
Music: The title song by Sukhwinder is energetic; “Maula” and “Pagal Manva” are decent numbers, and all bearing Anand Raaj Anand stamp on them. Overall an above average album.