‘Laal Kaptaan’ Review: Lengthy and Frustrating Film

Laal Kaptaan, is an ambitious story about deceit and valour. The film takes a quick visit back in history to the times when East India Company was making rapid strides in India, buying allies and bullying foes –Mughals, Rohillas, Marathas- to establish complete control over India. It really is a great story by director Navdeep Singh and Deepak Venkatesh. Unfortunately by the time the story moves from the storyboard onto film it gets lost in translation.

The film is set in the late-1700s, a time of fantastic tumult in India. The Battle of Buxar has taken place, the Mughals are losing their grip and the British are on their way to taking control of the country. North India is a mess of competing interests: Afghans, Marathas, assorted tribes and clans. Into this bubbling stew, Singh drops a naga sadhu Gosain, played by Saif Ali Khan, who has unfinished business with a warlord named Rahmat Khan (Manav Vij).

It is a chase film, a genre the director experimented with in NH10. Gosain has been pursuing Khan for 20 years and is finally within striking distance. Also pursuing Khan are the Marathas, whose money he’s run off with. And there’s a tracker played by Deepak Dobriyal, who’ll hunt down anyone, Gosain or Khan, for a fee. Saif Ali Khan, who has a yen for quirky themes and characters—remember his Russian avatar in Go Goa Gone or even Langda Tyagi in Omkara—gives you another dark riveting and brooding character. This time though Khan’s performance suffers for want of a tighter script. Unfortunately, all the support characters who could have bolstered his performance are underwritten and one note for the most part.

Overall it is bizarre and a poor film that has nothing good to offer the audiences in general.

Director: Navdeep Singh
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Manan Vij, Simone Singh , Deepak Dobriyal
Rating: 2 Stars