Rating: 3 out 5
John Abraham has been consciously picking scripts that add more weight to his filmography and ones that give him ample opportunity to prove and improve his skills as an actor. Batla House is another such film and it is based on real life incidents, too. The trailer pretty much gave away what we’ll see in the film. John’s stoic presence in the film works well for the character that he is playing. However, you do feel like he needs to take a break from it for at least a few minutes. John’s reaction to his colleague dying is the same as the scene where his wife (played by Mrunal Thakur) threatens to leave the house.
After an excruciatingly slow first half, we finally see the film getting gripping and interesting in the second half. I’ll give the film extra points for being politically correct and making sure no religious sentiments are hurt in the film. The makers have been quite careful of that. John gets a chance to prove himself in the courtroom scenes at the end of the film and he does so really well. However, it is the lack of good writing that makes an otherwise gripping monologue look forced and unnecessary.
Mrunal Thakur’ss skills are wasted, both as a wife and as a journalist, in the film; another character that was poorly written. Nora Fatehi, in fact, has a far more important role in the film. No, she is not in the film just to dance to the remake O Saki Saki. Ravi Kishan plays John’s colleague and Inspector in the film and does deserve more screen presence than given. In fact, I would have loved to see John and Ravi’s onscreen camaraderie in the film.
The director of the film, Nikkhil Advani, did not waste any time on songs or romance, which compels me to give the film an extra point. It’s great that filmmakers want to stick to the issue at hand than digress from the main plot. Not saying this is Nikkhil’s best but it’s definitely not the worst.
The courtroom scenes at the end will have you at the edge of your seat but only for some time. John stating out facts from the investigation amps up energy in the room (in the theatre, not the room in the film) but his monologue, that is being interrupted constantly by others on the screen fails to have a gripping impact on you. It ends even more abruptly.