Director Raj Kanwar has directed many hit movies during the past two decades but Baadal (2000) is an underrated movie of him which was not successful commercially and not much talked about as well. I had seen this movie when it was released and found it much better than the hits given by Raj Kanwar (Deewaana, Laadla, Judaai etc.).
Baadal (cloud) tells the story of an innocent child - Baadal (Bobby Deol) whose family members alongwith many other innocents were killed by a corrupt and cruel cop (Ashutosh Rana) under the pretext of eliminating the terrorists in the relevant campaigns going on in Punjab in 1984 . The terrorist (Ashish Vidyarthi) who was given shelter by Baadal's father (Alok Nath) saves him and fosters him. In his bid to seek his revenge from that cop, Baadal also gets involved in terrorist activities. Fate drags him to the house of a kind-hearted and right-thinking cop (Amrish Puri) whose wife (Neena Kulkarni) and daughters (Mayuri Kango and Sana Saeed) are also like him only but apprehensive of the looks of the stranger entering their house. Baadal whose heart is filled with anguish and hatred only, gets melted by the unexpected love of this kind family and the sympathetic and considerate attitude of the police officer giving refuge to him, gradually purifies heart. Besides, he gets the romantic love of a jovial girl (Rani Mukherjee) too. However, there is only one person in the world whom he cannot forgive and cannot cease to hate - the corrupt and cruel cop who had ruined his life. He has entered the top brass of the police system now (courtesy the flawed promotion-system in the Indian establishments, taking the non-deserving ones to the top). Finally, Baadal seeks his revenge from him and the fire of hatred in his heart gets splashes of water.
Though Baadal has been made as a commercial movie filled with action, thrill, romance and the regular Bollywood formulae, by default perhaps, the screenplay is successful in rendering a strong message that all the terrorists are not bad by heart. Several of them are so because of the police atrocities leading to ruin of their lives. When the small kids are turned into orphans by the high-handed (and heartless) police (of India), isn't it natural that they take the wrong path alongside growing-up ? Love begets love and hatred begets hatred. The way, the shelter-giving family of Amrish Puri wins Baadal's hatred-filled heart with their love, kindness and sympathy wins the heart of the audience too. It has been portrayed in such a natural way that it's something to watch and feel only (my words may not be able to convey perfectly what the scenes have conveyed).
The movie is very interesting. It's more or less a formula movie in which action, thrill, comedy, romance, music, family ties; everything is there and that too in almost optimum quantum. Johnny Lever-Upasana Singh track is irritating but else the different sequences have been put at the right places. The songs are also skilfully inserted in the narrative. The twists in the tale do not allow any boredom to creep in and keep the viewer attentive. Rani Mukherjee provide relief moments in this serious movie through her romantic advances towards Bobby. There are many heart-winning scenes that leave long-lasting impact on the viewer, viz. Mayuri Kango's admitting Bobby as her brother, Neela Kulkarni's slapping Bobby under the misunderstanding that he has killed his little daughter but Bobby's taking it as a token of her love for him, Amrish Puri's logical outburst before his senior officer - Ashutosh Rana and finally Bobby's exhibition of his suppressed hatred for Ashutosh even when he is dead (in the ending scene of the movie).
Technically the movie is good. Both the action director and the choreographer (alongwith the art director as well) have done their jobs pretty well. The action and dance sequences are quite impressive. The sketting contest in college of Rani and Mayuri is also amusing. Production value is high.
Anu Malik's music is good. The best song is the romantic duet of Kavita Krishnamoorthy and Sonu Nigam - Na Milo Humse Zyaada Kahin Pyar Ho Na Jaaye. Laal Garaara, Jugni Jugni, Tujhe Dekh Ke Dil Mera Dole and Yaara Yaara Mere Yaara Mere Yaaram are also good to listen (and to watch as well).
Baadal is not only an underrated movie of Raj Kanwar but also of Bobby Deol. He has given an admirable performance in the title role. He has displayed the stuffiness, anguish and hatred embedded in the character through remarkable underplay. Rani Mukherjee has given such a performance in the role of a romantic and jovial girl that brings smile to the lips of the viewer. Late Amrish Puri has delivered a towering performance in the positive role and proved again that he was a class actor indeed. Ashutosh Rana as the villain is perfect. Neena Kulkarni, Mayuri Kango, Sana Saeed, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harish Patel, Kulbhushan Kharbanda (as Rani's father), Akash Khurana (as the right-thinking politician) etc. have done complete justice to their assigned roles. Only Johnny Lever irritates.
The hidden message of this apparently masala movie is that several (not all) terrorists (of tender age at least) can be brought back to the right path through understanding, sympathy and love. They may also be grief-filled in their hearts with nobody sharing their pain and tears. Terrorism cannot be eliminated merely by eliminating the terrorists without differentiating between the hardcore criminals and the aggrieved innocents joining the terrorist groups. And a strict vigil is required on the activities of the perverted cops too who vent out their personal frustration through cruelty on innocents in their so-called anti-terrorist compaigns and turn many innocents into new terrorists. I recommend this underrated movie to all the right-thinking Indians.
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