Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Neena Gupta, Manav Vij, Saurabh Sachdeva
Director: Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal
Rating: 3.5 Moons
First things first, it is extremely heartening to see that the Hindi film industry has started spinning stories not only focused on young, dashing lovebirds but also gives due credence to veteran actors who have thankfully broken the character artist mould and shining in lead roles. Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal’s film Vadh brings two extremely charismatic and nuanced veteran actors in the limelight- Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta. However, this time around they are not hitting the ball out of the park with their comedic brilliance but instead bring a serious story hinged on murder and the haplessness of several Indian old couples around the country.
The two veterans along with Manav Vij and Saurabh Sachdeva team up for the crime-drama Vadh and bring a gripping story that will definitely touch your moral fiber in some way. The title quickly takes away the heinous quality of the killing. Katl suggests premeditated and cold-blooded murder that is unforgivable, however, when it is termed vadh it is a virtue, a way in which good triumphs over evil or dharma vanquishes the adharma.
Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra is an old couple who are grappling with poverty and loneliness. They have spent all their life’s earnings on the education of their son like many Indians in the hopes that he will take care of them in their old age. However, the callous son is happily settled in the US with his family and does not bother much about his parents who are having trouble making ends meet. On the other hand, they have another hideous monster in the form of Saurabh Sachdeva who not only comes to harass them about their debts but also takes advantage of their vulnerability by using their house for his own sexcapades and other nefarious activities. The harrowed oldies are at their wits end and look exhausted with their lives.
However, it is not all grim in Vadh and the directors bring in humour with the use of a rat trap, symbolic of the nuisance the miscreant creates in their mirthless lives. When their lives are on the verge of collapse the man of the house steps up not only to get rid of the rat but also to save and protest his family from the villainy of Saurabh Sachdeva. Vadh does not show the gruesome crime being committed but imparts the knowledge through sounds and the blood splattered on Sanjay Mishra’s face and his subsequent cleansing coupled with removal of evidence.
Manav Vij plays a corrupt policeman who has his own dirty secret to conceal. Vadh also employs some truly comical police officers who not only make us laugh but also puts forth the sentiment that old and helpless people are not taken seriously by anyone in the society and are often disregarded as being senile.
Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta are exceptional in the film and do not leave character even for a split second. They lead the film with their nuanced performance and it is difficult to see them as actors rather than an old couple living their impoverished lives in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. Saurabh Sachedva’s impeccable act translates pure evil on screen and you can’t help but hate him. On the other hand, Manav Vij also puts in a commendable performance.
Writer-directors Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal have done a credible job with the film but the ending leaves us wanting for a closure. The climax is heartbreaking and leaves one with conflicted emotions because the couple may have won a battle but lose everything in the process. Vadh will make you ocillated between triumph and despair. If you are one of those people who like a happy, cheery ending then Vadh might be daunting for you but if you can appreciate a par excellence performance then you’ll not be disappointed as it is a masterclass in acting.
PeepingMoon.com gives Vadh, 3.5 Moons.