If you have seen “The Invisible Guest” 2016’s Spanish version of the same theme you will not be shocked by “Badla’s thrilling conclusion; except for switching the gender of the protagonists, this is a consummate clone, every bit as titillating; starring, in his finest role in years Amitabh Bachchan as “Badla Gupta” a lawyer hired to defend “Naina Sethi” (remarkable Taapsee Pannu) accused of killing “Sunny” her lover and partner (superb Antonio Singh) of a horrendous crime.
Director Sujoy Ghosh has masterfully tackled the flashback, cat and mouse genre, impeccably; vacillation between Nania and Badla keep viewers in a constant state of flux; taut writing and brilliant, intelligent performances are the key to the triumph of “Badla”; knowing the outcome did not in any way sidetrack my attention.
Bachchan’s fifty year career comes to the fore in “Badla” erasing some of the buffoonish roles he has been cursed with in recent years; reminiscent of earlier glories, “Sholay”,
“Anand”, “Deewaar”, “Zanjeer”, he stuns with immaculate timing; poetic license is a primary component, intensely depicted, at times by a simple gesture, glance; stylishly cunning, he controls, dominates and imbues immense sagacity into every scene. His more than worthy adversary, combining shrewdness with Machiavellian intensity, Taapsee Pannu as Naina, portrays complexity with a maestro’s finesse.
Anyone, regardless of ethnicities, citizenship, greedy for mind games, will absolutely, lustfully crave every second, and be profusely gratified; satisfyingly stupefied by the finale.