By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Bazaar”; Director: Gauravv K. Chawla; Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rohan Mehra, Radhika Apte, Chitrangada Singh; Rating **1/2
Director Gauravv K. Chawla’s “Bazaar” is a film with the cut-throat stock market, as the backdrop.
Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra) is an educated, bright boy from Allahabad who has lofty dreams and wants to make it big. Against his middle class father’s will who attaches more importance to loyalty, Rizwan moves to Mumbai to try his luck and fulfil his ambitions.
He idolises, Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan), a small town boy from Surat, who has become the wolf of the stock trading market and is known for his business acumen and understands “only maths”.
How Rizwan makes his presence felt in the city of Mumbai, owing to his “emotional understanding” of the market, learns bitter lessons and bounces back, forms the crux of this film.
The narrative is lazily crafted. It follows a first-person account, where the protagonist, Rizwan recounts his life — his trials and tribulations in Mumbai. A short-cut approach, this route tends to be a bit tedious and jarring for the viewers, as it breaks the flow of the narration and the seriousness of the craft.
The first half of the film drags at an even keel without any real inciting moments, merely establishing the characters — throwing light on Rizwan’s determination to make it big in Mumbai, as well as, Shakun’s manipulative and clever mind and his ability to turn any situation in his favour.
Post half-time the pace accelerates and some drama unfolds, revealing the politics and corruption in the perilous world of stock market trading, making the film a bit more engrossing. The climax particularly is a highlight and astutely handled.
The dialogues are well-written and a few hard-hitting ones, leave their mark. The characters are well-etched and justify their actions seamlessly.
Saif as the Shakun Kothari, the suave, but scheming stock market veteran, fits the character perfectly, but does not make any real effort to add nuances to his performance. He is credible, but not outstanding.
Debutant Rohan, as Rizwan Ahmed the “boy with a small town mentality” is earnest and performs naturally. He lacks the charisma of a star, but more than makes up with his impressive acting skills. He grows on you and is endearing.
Radhika Apte as Priya, Rizwan’s colleague and love interest, essays her character perfectly and adds to the glamour quotient.
Chitrangada Singh as Shakun’s wife, who does not tow the line with him, is wasted in a miniscule role.
Other actors playing the SEBI Chief and Rizwan’s sister, lend able support.
The music of the film by YoYo Honey Singh, is uninspiring and leaves no impact.
Mounted with decent production values, the film is not exactly glossy, but manages to exude a stylish feel.
Overall, this stock market trading drama is not exactly thrilling, but manages to stay afloat owing to the credible performances. Given its setting only urban viewers will relate to it.