“Aap Maths par chalte hain aur main emotions par! (You follow maths and I follow emotions).
This dialogue is perhaps, the crux of the movie that is neatly balanced on the Gujarati calculative wheels of Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan) and street-smart tactics of the new kid on the block Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra).
The plot follows the generic rags-to-riches journey of a small-town boy Rizwan from Allahabad to Mumbai. His ambition drives him to break into Stock Market Exchange with the only intention of sneaking his way into Shakun Kothari's business circle. And as the stock prices hike up so does his career. But even if you know zilch about stocks and options like me, you still would be aware about the fluctuating ups and downs and the same goes for Rizwan's life both professional and personal.
The movie transgresses from the Wolf of the Dalal Street's (Shakun's) fraudulent tactics of acquiring companies to Rizwan's converting stocks into profit ventures courtesy insider trading information and love interest Priya Rai (Radhika Apte). And it does so, artfully with the concept of smashing the fourth wall wherein, both Saif and Rohan directly talk to their audience at regular intervals. The dramatic zoom-ins and exaggerated slow motions is intended to add “larger-than-life” effect to the characters and the conservative Bollywood flavour to pace the movie. However, the glamourous stress of the Dalal street is perhaps missed because of the surface-level insight it provides in the business of buying-and-selling.
The actors cover up the loop holes of director Gaurav Chawla however as they deliver a stellar performance dwindling in shades of grey and black. Saif, as the Gujarati “dhandhavado” (businesssman) unsurprisingly adapts to the quintessential language so much that he impersonates even the Gujarati accent to a hundred. For someone new to the industry, and starring opposite ace actors, Rohan Mehra leaves quite a first impression with his “small-town-mentality” and punchy sense of humor! Radhika Apte, pulls-off the contemporary image of the professional Indian female in workspace. However, she is over-shadowed by her male protagonists. But it is Chitrangada Singh, playing Saif Ali Khan's perfect trophy-wife of who delivers the trump card and leaves the audience stunned.
While the actors in their dilemma of following their moral compass and being consumed by their greed for success breathe momentum to the sometimes dragging plot. It is actually the witty screenplay that invites frequent chuckles from the audience and hearty laughs. The “Jai Shri Krishnas” are dropped at perfect timings and the intensity of “Main yaha struggle karne nahi settle hone aaya hoon” (I have not come to Mumbai to struggle but to settle) grips the audience in anticipation to the last scene.
The songs have managed to wrap the whirlwind of developing relationships between the characters in a series of montage shots and the Gujarati Kem Cho background only heightens the culture and lingo of West India. Overall, Baazaar is a two and a half hours of meaningful entertainment that helps one to unwind from the day's stress and busy work schedule.