Khuda Hafiz: Sheeba Chaddha’s Thakur had all the potential to save the film

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Yet another revenge drama peppered with all the gravity-defying action sequences and cliches available in the world of Indian cinema released last week. It’s called Khuda Hafiz Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha. Sheeba Chaddha as Thakur is the one genuine effort that could have made up for all the mess that the film is otherwise. Written and directed by Faruk Kabir, Khuda Hafiz Chapter 2 released last Friday and features Vidyut Jammwal in the lead, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Divyendu Bhattacharya and Rajesh Tailang. (Also read: Khuda Haafiz 2 earns 3 crore in two days)

Shivaleelika Oberoi and Vidyut Jammwal play husband and wife, struggling to get back to normal life after she was kidnapped and raped. But, more often than not, the real struggle for the audience is to empathise with them – neither love, nor loss, pain or grief seem natural with this couple. A woman is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder after being kidnapped and gang raped in a foreign land. Her husband, in all his ‘love’ for her, prepares her breakfast and accompanies her to counselling, only to declare all is well when she doesn’t feel the same.

The man, Vidyut as Sameer, brings a five-year-old girl who recently lost her parents and decided this is the cure to normalising their lives. Does the wife, Nargis, want the same? We don’t know, no one cared to ask her. Sameer assumed she’d grow fond of the child and emerge happy. And, that is precisely what happens. After a few scenes to underline how disinterested Nargis is in the child, a dog attacks the young one, triggering all the motherly instincts and love in Nargis. Soon, it is a smooth adoption and a happy family. However, another tragedy strikes soon enough and unleashes the actual plot – an untrained man (Sameer) is the one-man army who fights the villains of his life, the corrupt cops and even a dozen hardcore criminals when locked up inside a prison.

Things get slightly better when Sheeba arrives on the scene – a sari-clad woman commanding the entire house, and her henchmen. With her rudraksh necklace, her tightly tied bun, solid cotton sarees and overpowering presence; Sheeba’s character is supposed to be the centre of all problems for our protagonist. It could have served a similar purpose for Sheeba’s career as well, were the role written for a better film.

Despite the problems with the writing, Sheeba lifts the film with her powerful presence and on-point acting. The Thakur goes all out to protect her grandson from getting caught, even as she continues to assault a woman inside her own house.

The calmness with which Thakur orders her henchmen to commit crimes such as murders is chilling. The unwavering, adamant and self-assured aura about her distinguishes her from villains we usually see in such revenge-action films. She does not panic when the hero gets the upper hand neither does she get over-confident when she wins.

Despite being placed in a badly-written film, Thakur will still be listed as one of Sheeba’s best performances.




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