Pirated Video cassettes, weekly Chitrahaar and Kumar Sanu ruling the charts– those were the simpler days of Sadak’s release. Sadak was a simplistic rendition of Taxi Driver but it worked in those simpler times. Its sequel has come out at the time of torrents, Dubsmash videos and Tik Tok artists. Sadak 2 is a soulless, painful road to perdition. In many ways, a reflection of the times it has been made in.
Navigating the Incoherent Plot of Sadak 2
The film opens with Alia setting ablaze a poster of the Guru. She might as well have accidentally lit the script of the movie since it all goes downhill from there. While Sadak was not a masterpiece by any stretch of imagination, it did have a lot of things working in its favour. In the pre internet era, a taxi driver rescuing a girl from the webs of a prostitution racket was a novel plot for most of the Indian audience (Scorsese had not reached our consciousness yet). It had a good story and direction with the songs and unique antagonist taking it across the super hit milestone.
Sadak 2 lacks a coherent plot. It changes gears from ‘So Dark the Con of Man’ to ‘Zinda Jala dunga’ and somewhere in between parks into the ‘mental health’ and ‘blooming love’ lay-by for no good reason.
Some of the dialogues involving sanskaar and ghar ki beti seem borrowed from the discarded notes of a failed 90’s dialogue writer. The bit about the Owl named Kumbhakaran and his usage in fight scene is also a throwback to the time in late 80’s and early 90’s where every second movie had a dog or a monkey to save the day. Why you ask? Well last time Mahesh Bhatt directed a movie, it was in the 90’s. Regarding Bhatt’s exile from direction, I think it is best that in some cases people wonder why not? instead of cribbing why? Sadak 2 is a case of the latter.
Character Dynamics and Overacting in Sadak 2
Sanjay Dutt broods and Alia whimpers – things that come naturally to them and we have seen on screen umpteen times. There is nothing in the script that demands them to do anything else. Jisshu Sengupta, a talented actor from the Bengali industry, uncharacteristically overacts in the early scenes but makes up for it over the due course of the movie. He has got the few good lines in the entire movie and he does justice. Speaking of overacting, the lady playing Alia’s stepmother takes the cake. I was thankful, I did not watch the movie in a theatre only to avoid her screamy dialogue delivery. I had to tell myself that this could be the director’s way of putting a face to the frenzied crowd we see surrounding the Babas. (The lies we tell ourselves to stop going insane).
Makarand Deshpande, on the other hand, fits the role of the sadhu because of his characteristic ‘overacting’. However, he is missing from most of the movie and the lines he gets are nothing one has not heard before from similar characters. The most memorable character from Sadak was Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s Maharani. In Sadak2 the antagonist is not written anywhere close to it. In an unintentionally funny scene, he dresses up as a woman while planning to escape. Is it a nod to Sadashiv’s character in the first part or a satire on another god men changing into a lady’s attire in real life? We will never know.
Music, Endings, and the Urge to Revisit Sadak
More importantly, by the time this happens on screen, we do not even want to know. Aditya Roy Kapur, exists, like he has in countless movies before. Like an unwanted distraction on the frame. I guess, if you are a product of the nation’s current favourite word ‘Nepotism’ then be Alia , not Aditya.
A Downhill Journey from the Start
The music and songs leave a lot to be desired. Especially since music has been a forte of Vishesh films (even their bad movies have good music). Hum tere bin from Sadak plays in the flashback sequences and brings back the memories of that movie for a brief time. The line Tum nahi aate to hum mar jaate from the first movie gets a literal depiction onscreen, which was a decent touch. The ending of the movie is also disappointing. It takes the easy way out, kill the conmen instead of ending the con. That is also in keeping with times of extra judicial deaths and media room trials with instant verdicts.
Post watching Sadak 2 I was left with an urge to go watch Sadak or at least hear the soundtrack, hoping to drift into a good night’s sleep.
Captive of the 24 frames and admirer of the written word. If it is not on the silver screen or on the pages of a paperback, it might as well not exist.