A power shift is never easy, corporate or otherwise. When the young replace the old, there is always friction as it threatens positions of privilege and livelihoods. The old grappling with the idea of power and the young using the same power with brutality has been the norm of society for the longest time.
Nawab Khan (Raza Murad), an old, ailing mafia don, is bed-ridden, with death staring at him. His son, Kadar Pathan (Abhimanyu Singh), is the rightful heir of the crime syndicate, but with old boss dying, everyone is conspiring and eyeing the boss’ chair. Nawab Khan, along with his four associates (Shakir Sheikh, Firoz Namazi, Tatya and Pratap Shetty) run their syndicate under the protection of HM Madan Shirke.
On one hand Pratap Shetty’s son, Aanya Shetty, wants to be the young don and colludes with everyone to kill Kadar and take over Nawab’s empire. On the other hand is Kadar’s smart, cunning, ruthless right hand man Javed Ansari (Jimmy Shergill), highly motivated to protect his boss Kadar. The narrative takes place over a night, where Javed, along with his team, creates a dark web of lies and deceit, and pulls off a complicated powershift game that is worth the watch. And the ending is not what one might think it will be. It is far more complex and earth-shattering.
The director has kept the screenplay taut with periodic revelations to keep the audience glued to the screen, not to miss a move. The crisp screenplay plus superlative performances from seasoned actors make the film gripping and interesting.
Most gangster dramas are loaded with guns, violence, foul language, loud characters and weak screenplay, but this one is smart, sleek, dark and gritty, which sort of gives the film an edge over other crime dramas. Director Sharvan Tiwari has attempted something that is seldom done in Indian cinema. A smart and clever gangster drama, which, more often than not, is a genre that has become predictable and may fail to grab your attention. He brings a new grammar, dimension, screen texture and storytelling with his film.
Jimmy Shergill as Javed Ansari is a complicated man, who has a past, secrets to hide and hidden motives, which are revealed in due course, but the kind of menace he brings to the table with his calm demeanour is mind-blowing. Indraneil Sen Gupta as DCP Ajay Joshi might look like a player in a big political and crime syndicate, but he is one sharp slithering snake who understands the power dynamics. He is someone who will surprise you.
All in all, Aazam is a dark, intense and gritty crime thriller, which is uniquely presented and executed.
Duration: 128 minutes
Director: Shravan Tiwari
Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill, Abhimanyu Singh, Indraneil Sengupta, Raza Murad, Sanjeev Tyagi, Govind Namdev, Sayaji Shinde, Ali Khan, Anang Desai, Mushtaq Khan, Vivek Ghamande, Inzmam, Alok Pandey and Sushant Jain