Faraaz Review: Aditya Rawal & Zahan Kapoor stand tall in Hansal Mehta's gut-wrenching film


Film: Faraaz

Director: Hansal Mehta

Cast: Aditya Rawal, Zahan Kapoor, Juhi Babbar Soni, Aamir Ali, Sachin Lalwani, Pallak Lalwani, Reshham Sahaani

Rating: 3 Moons

In one of the most horrific incidents in the world, over 22 people were killed by a group of militants in 2016. The attack was on people present at Dhaka's Holey Artisan café. Years later, Hansal Mehta paid a tribute to those innocents who were killed in the terrorist attack. Through his latest film, Faraaz, he revisits the horror of the incident with Aditya Rawal and debutant Zahan Kapoor in the lead.

Faraaz opens to a group of young boys who’re preparing for a mission that turns out to be a rather deadly one. The film is set during the holy month of Ramadan in 2016. On the other hand, Faraaz (Zahan Kapoor), who’s the Prince of Bangladesh, has refused to go to Stanford University for further education and wishes to stay back in Dhaka and work for its people. On a fateful night, Faraaz makes a plan to dine with his friends at the Holey Artisan café, where the attack is being planned. Nibras (Aditya Rawal) is leading the group of five militants whose aim is to shoot down just those who don’t belong to Islam. As tension ensues on a claustrophobic night, Faraaz has to protect himself and his two female friends who don’t belong to the community.

Hansal Mehta, known for his out-of-the-box and unconventional stories about human courage and determination, builds a reel scenario that's not too far from reality. Keeping subtlety aside, he lets the guns go blazing at a rapid speed. Even the story. In less than 2 hours, the film manages to leave an impact on your mind and senses. Through Faraaz, Hansal presents to the audience the point of view of a ration and an irrational Muslim without glorifying either. Cutting the chase short, he doesn't indulge much in the personal spaces of the characters but focuses on their ideologies and the happening of the haunting night. 

Faraaz stands out especially in the last 30-40 minutes when the tension builds up, mind-churning twists are introduced and gore takes the forefront. The overall treatment given to the film doesn't allow fainthearted people to enjoy it in particular but as the narrative inches closer to the conclusion, it gets tougher. Be it the sharp bullet sounds, rampant killings or heartbreaking emotions, Hansal, Aditya, Zahan & the entire team does a brilliant job. 

As mentioned above, Faraaz rarely delves into the lives of the central characters. To an extent, that was important to build a connection with their ideologies. While it scores well in showing terrorism in the actual sense, the bravery of the titular character doesn't really stand out. Whether it is his humanity or courage, the film somewhere misses the mark here. There aren't enough moments of ideological clash between Faraaz and Librus which could have easily become the highlight of the film considering it is headlined by two powerful performers. 

Aditya Rawal steals the show as Nibras and there's no doubt about it. In his third project, the actor comes across as a revelation. Growing manifolds, Aditya balances the menace and sensibility of the terrorist who is loyal to his religion. The sequences where he recites the Quran are beautifully done. The twinkle in his eyes and command over the language and body postures are to behold. Zahan Kapoor is crackling in his debut film and shows immense promise. By creating a unique space for himself, the young actor allows people to notice him and his craft. You simply cannot take your eyes off him in the scenes he's featuring in.

Juhi Babbar Soni is a delight to watch as Faraaz's mother. Sachin Lalwani does a fantastic job as an Islamic militant. He is quirky, mean, and extremely impactful. Aamir Ali shines in a brief role. Pallak Lalwani, and Reshham Sahaani support the leading cast well but have nothing much to do. 

The cinematography of Faraaz is spectacular. It tends to make you feel claustrophobic too. The sequences of terrorists attacking the police and bullet firings are shot beautifully. The background score is apt for the setting. The editing is crisp and neat. 

Faraaz isn't a film for the fainthearted. It does manage to give you some chills and goosebumps but that's only in the second half. Despite the shortcomings, Hansal and the entire team pull off a good film. 

PeepingMoon gives Faraaz 3 Moons

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