What struck me most about India’s Most Wanted is the fact that it is based on a true story about which not much has been written or spoken about. This despite the fact that the chain of events took place not too much far back in time, though social media was in its infancy then. Had something like this happened today, there would have been a lot more hullabaloo around it. After all, the film tells the story of ‘India’s Most Wanted’ terrorist who was caught by a team of seemingly common men in a foreign country (Nepal) and that too without a single bullet being fired. This core premise is solid enough to result in a captivating affair.
That said, this is where the film could have been far better than what it actually turns out to be. Whenever director Raj Kumar Gupta brings on thrilling sequences, you are hooked on to the screens. The modus operandi, chases, the wait, the bureaucracy – all of this holds your attention well. However whenever the film shifts its focus towards drama, the film tends to become really lengthy as certain scenes go on and on. Especially the sequences featuring Arjun Kapoor, who is leading the team of intelligence officers, and Jitendra Shastri, the ‘mukhbir’ in Nepal, turn out to be way too lengthy. They had to be crisper for better appeal.
This is the reason why the first half seems a bit dragged though the good part is that the best is reserved for the interval sequence. It is truly superb and reminds one of a similar interval sequence from Akshay Kumar’s Holiday. This one is very well crafted and the tension on screen is really visible. Moreover, the film turns out to be better and better as it moves into the second half as the team gets further close to nabbing the terrorist. The second half is good, except for a totally needless club number towards the pre-climax which had no place in a film like this. Moreover, it is badly tuned, written and picturized as well.
However, what impressed you is the manner in which Raj Kumar Gupta brings characters from India, Nepal and Pakistan together to spin a tale that has a lot happening in those few hours span that is depicted in the film. You get to see how powers that be try to have their day in the scheme of affairs and if not for the bunch of patriots putting everything at stake, the terrorist may well have never been caught.
The need of the hour for Arjun Kapoor was to play the part in a subtle and understated manner, and he does that well. He is especially impressive when he sounds helpless or pleads with his seniors to allow him a free hand. He does well in these emotional scenes. As for Rajesh Sharma, his handler, the man is in great form and never once goes overboard. Jitendra Shastri has a very lengthy role and he looks and behaves the part. As for a dozen odd other character artists, they turn out to be a mixed bag as most of them don’t really get a well sketched part.
That turns out to be the case for the movie as a whole as well. It has certain portions that are really good and then intermittently some portions drag a lot and at places even seem needless. Still, the fact that a story like this has been finally told is commendable for which everyone in the team of India’s Most Wanted deserves credit.