How is Bazaar like Wolf of Wall Street? Granted, it is a story of rag to riches in the stock brokering world but the sensibilities, these characters and the whole story line is so very different. Bazaar is a story of Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan), a stock market tycoon aspiring to be one of the top businessman of India and Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Mehra), a young man with dreams of making it big in Mumbai. Director, Gauravv K. Chawla creates a world convenience and ease for these two characters, while all others characters including the two daughters of Kothari are merely plot devices for the two leading men’s stories. It’s all too familiar.
Rizwan Ahmed is from Allahabad (whatever the new name is; I don’t care for it), and wants to move to Mumbai to make big money. There is a manipulative dad (or over protective, it’s how you look at it) and a sister whose role is to mend fences between the two males of the house. Nonetheless, after an over dramatic scene with little gravitas, Rizwan ends up in Mumbai at the doors of one of the top brokering firms in Mumbai. All the flashy lights of stocks, the expurgating sounds of a ‘work place’, and weirdly out of place yet stunning Radihka Apte. Rizwan’s hay wired schemes are passed off as genius and we see that spitting in the coffee scene. It is always greatly satisfying how condescending and snobbish behaviour is passed off as part of being the ‘boss’ in films. No wonder people see the Donald as their true leader.
Back to the film, Rizwan as planned catches the eye of his mentor Shakun Kothari. Now we see the money rolling to no end. Bikinis, yachts and everything that comes along with that. But we all know it is temporary. Shakun is devious scheme to con Rizwan and if you are worth your salt as a cinephile you know from the beginning who is part of the devilish plot. The fall, and the rise from the ashes follows and you say thank god, its done.
The only thing that remotely kept my interest was the confusing background score. The song/line Maja Ma was has been used overtly and often without purpose. Till the end the film maker keeps this character of Saif Ali Khan vague. Is he a genius, people aspire to be and to be admired? Is he an evil monster who we should despise? I am not even sure if this was on purpose. Because the moral clarity of his eventual nemeses Rizwan is on point. Other characters come around to the ‘right side’, but Kothari remains somewhere in between.
As for the performances, there isn’t much to write home about. Only individual who has wiggle room is Saif and he does well enough. Rohan Mehra playing the underdog doesn’t garner enough sympathy for me, despite the film starting with him contemplating suicide. Radhika Apte & Chitrangada Singh simply don’t have enough to do in the film.
In the end, Bazaar was a slog and a half despite all the flashy colors and talks of billions. You knew what the film was about long before you entered the cinema. It just took so long to get there!