United we stand, divided we fall

‘Naam Shabana’ movie review by ‘Divya Solgama’


Jeetendra starrer ‘Farz’ was first Hindi spy based film followed by many other films which were weak clones of James Bond type of spy based film. The multiplex era shifted its base from an Interpol agent to R.A.W agents in the form of films like ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, ‘Agent Vinod’, ‘Phantom’ and many more films including ‘Baby’. Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Baby’, was very different than the typical spy based films as it was the best combination of real and fictional cinema. Every character in the movie was loved and cherished by the audience. One of these character was of Taapsee Pannu, which surprised everyone by her daredevil stunts and her powerful character. This motivated the makers to make a film based on the individual character of Taapsee Pannu from the movie ‘Baby’. We did see something similar happening in movies like ‘Sholay’ where one of its prominent character Soorma Bhopali, got a film being made. Similarly, Mithun Chakroborty and Jeetendra had sequels to their spy based films, but what makes ‘Naam Shabana’ different than all these films is that it’s more like a prequel or a spin-off story told much before the main story. Thus, let’s find out whether ‘Naam Shabana’ will be worthy enough to match up the level of ‘Baby’ or might end up being yet another project based film which are made only to cash in over its past glory.


‘Naam Shabana’ is a story of young college student Shabana Khan (Taapsee Pannu). Shabana’s best friend Jai (Taher Shabbir Mithaiwala) loves her and proposes her on a date. While returning back Shabana and Jai are eve teased by some hooligans, which leads to a fight between them and in that fight Jai gets killed. Shabana tries her best to get justice, but fails miserably. At that moment she receives a call from Ranvir (Manoj Bajpayee), who claims to be a part of a powerful government based organization and promises to help Shabana find Jai’s killers. In order to share the information, Ranvir also strikes a deal with Shabana, where she has to join their organization. Shabana agrees and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.

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Screenplay & Technical Details:

The basic story idea is good and had full potential to be a tight thriller on the lines of ‘Baby’. The first half of the movie takes its own sweet time to settle down with extended romantic track. Right from Taapsee’s Kudo tournament, Taapsee-Taher’s road incident, Taapsee’s vengeance the action scene in these parts are remarkable. The second half starts on bland basis and is stretched to the fullest. Though, some scenes like the whole mission to track and capture Prithviraj along with Akshay’s fight at the docks are highly engaging. The buildup for the climax is also interesting leading to a weak, flat and highly underwhelming climax. The length of the movie acts as the biggest negative point as all the tracks are unnecessarily stretched. You love the characters in the film, but none of them had the same intensity or substance, like how they had in the movie ‘Baby’. There are plenty of unwanted scenes (Danny calling up Murli Sharma, Madhurima’s call to Akshay, etc) which were forced into the film only to titillate the audience. The entire mission, the hardship and back story of Taapsee gets diluted due to random happening in the screenplay. The action are of top notch and it’s due to these scenes you are glued into the movie. Though, in comparison with Taapsee’s fight scene in ‘Baby’, the climax fight scene of Taapsee and Prithviraj is highly disappointing. The cinematography is decent, but the C.G.I work in some scenes is tacky.

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The music of ‘Naam Shabana’ is above average, with ‘Rozana’ and ‘Zinda’ appealing to your ears. ‘Zubi Zubi’ is one more addition of bad remix song. ‘Besharam’ is unwanted and badly placed in the movie. Background music is jarring at times.


Director Shivam Nair gets a great opportunity to make a spin-off based on the character from the movie ‘Baby’. He also manages to get other big actors like Akshay Kumar, Danny and Anupam Kher from ‘Baby’, but fails to utilize their potentials. These actors ended up looking like a star attraction in the movie and failed to be part of it. The script keeps wavering in the second half and shifts its base from training to a weak mission, where the main criminal himself gives away the prime lead to the agents. Also, unlike ‘Baby’ many scenes seemed unrealistic and funny. The director forgot the main point that this movie is about Taapsee and her culmination of becoming a spy. After establishing Taapsee’s backstory the movie forgets her and move towards making a spoof or a pilot shoot of ‘Baby’.

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Taapsee Pannu looks good and done some fantastic action in the movie. It’s a proud moment for her, as it’s for the first time that a spy film based on a female protagonist is made and that too at such a large scale. Manoj Bajpayee is fantastic in a couple of scenes, but after that is highly wasted. There is no substance to his character and probably one of the weakest role of this ace actor in recent times. It’s a crime to waste such highly talented actor. Prithviraj Sukumaran hams to the fullest. Akshay Kumar’s cameo is highly appealing, but lacks the intensity of ‘Baby’. Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Murli Sharma and Madhurima Tuli are wasted in their small cameo. Taher Shabbir Mithaiwala is fine in his part.

Final Verdict:

So on an overall basis ‘Naam Shabana’ reminds us of the famous motivation phase, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. The same team, which works great in ‘Baby’, ends up being a mere half-baked extension which fails to create the same magic on an individual basis.

Rating – 2.5/5 [Source = Bollywood Times]