Wazir begins on a high note, promising you the moon and ends up eclipsing your logic and power of reasoning, which are precisely what you need in a game of chess. The much-touted ‘suspense’ is given away with such unashamed glee halfway in the film that even a five-year old can see it coming, except of course, the ‘tell-a-lie’ technique that director Beejoy Nambiar employs, reminiscent of Kahaani, The Usual Suspects or its desi version, Chocolate.
This one’s a film that thrives completely on the performance of its leading men, who pull of a half-baked story and deep-fried plot towards the underwhelming climax. By the time you reach the film’s final minutes, you just can’t believe that it will end up so predictable and utterly silly.
You desperately yearn to find solace in some good music for which Beejoy Nambiar is known for (Even his film like David had decent music), but get to hear something as uninspiring as the film’s screenplay. You find yourself hoping against hopes that Neil Nitin Mukesh or even John Abraham will give the film the much-needed boost – no way, sir! So Bachchan’s one-liners and Farhan’s earnest performance are the only reason you don’t give up on this film with an excuse of a story and joke of a suspense. The climax finally reveals that the joke’s on us – the audience.
Here’s a fictional account of how Wazir must have taken shape:
One fine day, director Beejoy Nambiar happened to play chess with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The conversation finally shaped into a film script for Wazir, which goes thus:
Beejoy Nambiar: I don’t know to play chess.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra: Well, I don’t know either.
BN: Then what are we up to?
VC: No clue, mate! Hey checkmate!
BN: What’s that?
VC: No clue, mate! Just sounds like I am a serious chess player…In fact, I am working on the story for our next film which is weaved around chess.
BN: Why chess? Why not some action-driven game like cricket, football, tennis wherein I can showcase my slo-mo shot-directing talents?
VC: This is precisely the reason I chose this game, which is anyway slow, leaving no scope for you to shoot any Khoya khoya chaand music videos in a film that is supposed to be a thriller.
BN: How mean! Now tell me the story or at least an excuse of a story…
VC: Wait, let me put the audio recorder on so that I can send it to our writer Abhijaat Joshi and ask him to develop it further. (Pause) okay done…let’s get started! Make your first move.
BN: But which one to pick and where to put…and do we use a dice? Don’t you think Saanp seedhi was better?
VC: Don’t care about which pawn you pick, just make the goddam move!
VC: The bishop! What do we call it in Urdu…let me google…yeah Wazir! So that’s the title. So the story is about a chess master and his cop friend.
BN: I can already see Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan!
VC: (Moves a Rook, the Haathi) I don’t want a father-son kind of emotion here…pure friendship of different age groups. Farhan Akhtar will be the right choice. Now make the next move.
BN: Okay (Moves a King) So what next?
VC: Bachchan’s character has a past…he is wheelchair-bound and seeks revenge.
BN: This one sounds like some Sholay’s Thakur! With no Veeru, just Jai!
VC: There’s a twist…here Farhan’s character also has a past and seeks revenge. But there is a suspense.
BN: What suspense? That they have a common enemy?
VC: Bingo! Manav Kaul will play that role.
BN: So we reveal this in the end?
VC: No way! We’ll do that much before.
BN: So where’s the suspense?
VC: Let’s cook something up…That’s why I called you here… (Moves a Queen)
BN: Aditi Rao Hydri will play Farhan’s wife…they lose a daughter in an encounter with some terrorist…And even the villain will have a daughter…
VC: (Moves a Knight) so does Amitabh’s character…even he had lost his daughter, blame it on the Knight i.e. the villain.
BN: (Moves a Pawn) Sir what is this? Is this is a thriller or some Beti Bachaao ad? Too many daughters around…I mean almost every character has a daughter…why not sons?
VC: That’s the subtle message we are giving to the audience on female infanticide…it’s a multi-layered film with nuances of socio-politico-emo-
BN: And slo-mo?
VC: Dare you say the slo-mo word…You may shoot the opening sequence of rain in slo-mo…perhaps as a tribute to my Rim Jhim Rim Jhim song of 1942-A love story, but that’s where it must end.
BN: Wow! So what next? (Moves a Knight)
VC: In the end we’ll reveal something that the audience can’t imagine or maybe we’ll use the tell-a-lie technique akin to Kahani, The Usual Suspects or its desi version, Chocolate? Yippee! I got your Queen!
BN: Hey you know to play chess? What kind of joke was that?
VC: Not on you dear, the joke is on audience.
They pack their chessboard, send the audio recording to the writer and at the end of the day, the King, Queen, Rook, Knight and Bishop go in the same box of illogical indulgence.