Movie : Batla House

Director – Nikkhil Advani

Cast : John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur, Ravi Krishan, Rajesh Sharma, Manish Chaudhary

Stars – 2/5

Inspired by the 2008 encounter at Batla House where 2 terrorist were killed. Questions and doubts were raised at the time on the police – Was the encounter staged? Was the crime scene dressed up? Was Mohan Chand Sharma too trigger-happy for his own good? Were the slain men Islamist militants or students in the wrong place at the wrong time? and the questions are still unanswered but for director Nikkhil Advani the mystery seems to be solved.

The movie “Batla House” has clearly taken a side even though the movie begins with a standard disclaimer – “the film is not a documentary and it’s not intended to accurately reflect those incidents that may have occurred”and then, during a courtroom scene in the second half, states that the makers “do not endorse any of the views by either side”. But in every scene we only see them literally taking side of the cops and doing a fairly good job at it.

The cops were clearly on the right and the group of young men captured and killed
in a flat were not students but members of Indian Mujahideen (IM).There are moments when it appears that the dramatised version of the police operation will let in other points of view, but they are quickly jettisoned in favour of celebrating Sanjeev Kumar’s (John Abraham) valour and patriotism. But again his ego has to be well fed. He is surrounded by activist, politicians, misguided reporters, members of Muslim community and he fights them all and also his own self, he goes into self pity. Sanjeev Kumar is haunted by guilt by the blood on his hands, and he imagines ever so often that bullets are piercing his skin. In another nightmare, he is surrounded and nearly crushed by a mob of skullcaps.

Through out the 145 minutes movie we see Sanjeev (John Abraham) dealing with his mental state, struggling to prove the whole encounter and his wife (Mrunal Thakur) buttering his ego while trying to save their almost ended marriage but her scenes are very limited yet it’s good to see her on screen.

It’s a typical Bollywood film where we get to see family drama, item song, tough action scenes, courtroom drama.

Sanjeev says at the climax: “Poori duniya piss rahi hai. Sirf inki qaum nahin”, followed by “The defenders of their religion are the real problem”.

If you can’t persuade the audience with the 145 minute film you can totally do it by bringing religion into it.

Nikkhil Advani said he want to start a conversation with his movie Batla house, conversation on what exactly? Forget the encounter, this movie only aims to showcase the positive and struggling side of police with a handsome face. You could have picked up any random story to do that, won’t have to go through the legal troubles then (just a advice from a viewer)

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