Torbaaz: Well-Intended Misfire!

Torbaaz(Neflix)

Starring Sanjay Dutt, Rahul Dev, Nargis Fakhri

Directed by Girish  Malik

Rating: **

Torbaaz  is one of those  well-intended  films that  you feel bad in criticizing,  It is made with a  noble purpose, to expose  the  tragedy  of  young children in  Afghanistan being trained to  become suicide bombers. While the  film’s heart beats in  favour of humanism and  peace , that heartbeat of humanity doesn’t quite make  itself  heard to the audience.What we see  is  a  film saddled  for  nobility  but with no  sense  of purpose  or direction.

The  film ambles aimlessly  in  every direction . We are  introduced to Sanjay Dutt’s character at an airport where he is oblivious  to the  repeated  announcement  of his flight to Afghanistan being  ready  to take off.  Some such tone-deafness   characterizes  the  film all the way from takeoff to landing.

 The  director hears the  anguish  of and probably feels  strongly for   the  upcoming generations  in Afghanistan who are trained  into terrorism from  a young age, but  has  no  clue  as to how to  channelize  his thoughts  and feelings.
Torbaaz is stuck between  bouts  of anger  and spasms of  sloppiness. While looking anguished comes easy  to Dutt,  the  rest  of  the cast including the  normally-dependable Rahul Dev struggle in under-written roles.The  children, ironically,  are  the  biggest sufferers on  the sketchy writing. While it is  admirable of Girish Malik  to have used local Afghani  children, their accents and actions  suggest  their inability to  grasp the  grammar  of  violence.

This could have been a good even great film, if only  it had penetrated  deeper into the emotions  of  its troubled  characters. Instead  the narrative  skims the surface  and  tries to make do with doodling over  shadowy shallow characters, none more so than Nargis Fakhri  who seems as unsure of her  ‘Afghani’  accent as  she is  about  what she is  doing in the  film. She is not alone in her uncertainties.

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