'Listening is an art', no I am not coining a new phrase but reiterating a dialogue by Sidharth Malhotra in 'Aiyaary'. The film by much-acclaimed director Neeraj Pandey, who has an excellent track record of delivering movies such as 'A Wednesday', 'Special 26' and 'Baby'.
However, 'Aiyaary' featuring an impressive ensemble star cast with the likes of Manoj Bajpayee, Sidharth Malhotra, Naseeruddin Shah, Adil Hussain, Kumud Mishra, Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra falls flat in terms of screenplay.
Now, coming back to - 'listening is an art' - well certainly, in this case, it means more than that. You hear so much that what's happening in front of your eyes goes haywire. Manoj Bajpayee plays Colonel Abhay Singh, the man who leads a team proactive in carrying out covert missions in which Sid (Major Jai Bakshi) is an integral member.
The complex web of how things work in the Indian Army and how certain corrupt officials ruin the entire system is what 'Aiyaary' talks about. The scam involving the selling of arms and ammunition to the Army from how the loud TV channels hunt their stories for rising TRPs is touched upon by the filmmaker.
The problem lies in the way it has been woven into a single story. When you have an actor par excellence such as Manoj Bajpayee, you can watch anything on the 70mm screens—and that's how he saves 'Aiyaary' from falling completely flat.
Sidharth tries hard and looks like he is out of his comfort zone. His act is impressive in bits and pieces. Filmmaker Neeraj has a certain set of actors, you will always find in his films. From Anupam Kher to Naseeruddin Shah—you only wish had they been utilised more and given a meatier role to entice the audience.
The original background score by Sanjoy Chowdhury tries to make you feel the thrill but it's not as fast-paced as 'Baby'. Rakul Preet who is a big name down South plays Sonia in the film and has some good scenes with Sid. But that's it.
You will appreciate the effort gone into giving the actors a disguise which even hoodwinks the viewers but we expected much more from the film which boasts of having veteran actors in the play.
In short, 'Aiyaary' is no 'Baby' but watch it only if you are a Manoj Bajpayee fan, for he anchors the drowning ship.
(Ratings: 2.5/5 Stars)