After more than a year of continuously watching and reviewing Netflix movies/series, it started getting a bit monotonous. I know it’s an OTT platform and there are new releases all the time, but the whole waiting and watching does get a bit boring when you know you have to review a movie every week. So, I decided to surf through YouTube to see if I could find something interesting.
A quick search for Bollywood movies gave me multiple options but the one that caught my eye was the 2018 film “Baazaar,” for personal and semi-professional reasons. The Indian language crime/drama is largely based on the share market and it’s inside stories. Enough reason for an aspiring NEPSE trader to watch, you might think. Well, that is partly true.
The film uses two men from different walks of lives and backgrounds to tell the inside stories of power and money struggles in the stock market. Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) is a small-time stock-trader in Allahabad who idolizes Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan), a Gujrati share market tycoon based in Mumbai. Rizwan’s wish to work with the very best in the share market makes him chase Shakun, who in turn recognizes the youngster’s potential and thus begins a collaboration between the two men—the former a naïve entrant and the latter a ruthless whale. Facilitating their relationship is Rizwan’s co-worker and girlfriend Priya Rai (Radhika Apte), who has an already successful career in the firm they work for.
As Rizwan starts making money by the millions for Shakun, the two get close. Shakun, usually reserved and distanced, starts taking a personal liking to Rizwan and even their families, including Shakun’s wife Mandira Parekh (Chitrangda Singh), get involved. But like any bull or bearish trend in the market, their relationship also does not last long. Greed for power and lust for money comes between, with guile, treachery and retribution coming into play.
Directed by Gaurav K. Chopra, Baazaar’s story feels uncannily similar to Oliver Stone’s 1987 masterpiece “Wall Street,” although there is no official mention in the credits. The writers of Baazar try to show the darker side of the stock market where deception and scam are just another day’s work. (This is kind of true for almost every share market.) The film has intense movements and suspenseful subplots to make it thrilling enough.
Still, the three writers credited for Baazaar do a lazy job of omitting the very details of how a market operates for real. There is a lot to watch in the film, but nothing to take away. It focuses more on the power struggle between the players than realistically show at least some actual processes that the audiences could relate to.
Badly written it may be but the film flows at a good pace, making its 2hr 17mins length bearable despite the boring soundtracks and background music. Like most of the Bollywood films on stock markets and finances, Baazaar too uses its females as mere tools in storytelling and pretty faces on screen. Both the central female characters—Priya and Mandira—played by the best actors in the industry were in a position to make an impact on the story, but the writers only make them blend and then fade into the background.
This lack of character-building for other actors, including Mehra’s Rizwan, shifts all the focus on Khan’s Shakun. Shakun, who has made it to the top of the market with his shrewd trading skills and a little help from his wife’s family money, is a multi-layered character with shades of black and white throughout the movie. The actor Khan does a fine job of getting into his character but still feels tied down due to the terrible writing and stereotypical characterization.
Who should watch it?
Baazaar fetishizes the stock market and the uncountable amount of money that floats in it. Glorification of financial crimes works for some and doesn’t for others. So you know if you really want to watch it.
PS: We’ll most probably be doing a YouTube movie every alternate week. So if there’s something you’d like to get reviewed or saw a movie you particularly liked, please send us a link. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or mail us at email@example.com
Rating: 3 stars
Actors: Saif Ali Khan, Rohan Mehra
Director: Gaurav K. Chopra
Run time: 2hr 17mins