Naam Shabana has received mixed reviews, which once again makes the decision of screening the film two days in advance for the ‘critics’ seem quite stupid. Most reviews are between 2 to 3 stars.
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Naam Shabana Review by Indicine
Neeraj Pandey, who directed Baby has written the screenplay of this spinoff but the mark is completely missed with this movie. The character of a female spy was an interesting choice thematically but it loses its value when that sole female character is undermined by other male characters and to justify the appearance of Akshay Kumar in a cameo, the lead character has to be ‘literally’ handheld and shown the tropes. The character of the lead villain is also painfully cliched and underutilised. Naam Shabana doesn’t work because the character of Shabana is like Hulk. They work best in cameo roles than in full fledged movies bearing the title name. Also, the pacing of Naam Shabana is way off. For a spinoff it has no business being 2.5 hours long.
Naam Shabana Review by Bollywood Hungama
When NAAM SHABANA’s promos were released, even though it gave the viewers few flashes of its sequel BABY, it became successful in establishing its own identity. However, when it comes to the film, it is the writing that plays a bit of a spoilsport. The film’s screenplay (Neeraj Pandey) is such that the first and the second half come across as two different films altogether. So as a viewer, one doesn’t see much of a connect between the pre and post interval parts. In addition to that, the film’s screenplay fails to create that edge of the seat thrill that one expects from a film like this. Besides, NAAM SHABANA also has some jarring loopholes and cinematic liberties for which one can only blame Neeraj’s writing.
Naam Shabana Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India
Taapsee delivers some knockout punches and is sincere enough. Manoj is brilliant, though he has just dialogue-baazi and no action to support him. As for Akshay, he is happy to lend his superstar-presence and bask in the girl power. So go ahead and salute his spirit.
Naam Shabana Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
What does come as a surprise, however, is just how much of a drag the film is. Except for a few stray sequences in which the limber Taapsee Pannu goes after the bad guys, and the ones in which co-star Akshay Kumar moves in to demonstrate how the big boys do it, there is nothing either novel or interesting about the film.
Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
Watch Naam Shabana purely for Taapsee Pannu’s fine performance and Akshay Kumar’s enjoyable cameo, and also if you loved Baby too much. Just don’t go into theatre expecting another quality stuff like Baby, even if the movie forces us to draw comparisons.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
Pandey has written this prequel, split into two totally separate films. And to be fair when the movie does cut to the chase eventually, to chase down the villain, some of the thrills do kick in. Sadly you’ve polished off your popcorn tub already, taking in the corniness until that point, while your head spins in circles in this pointless spin-off, listening to the zany ‘Zubi zubi zubi’ number from Mithun’s ‘Dance Dance’ (1987), and so much else. Okay, sorry, seriously, no knock on ‘Zubi zubi zubi’.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Taapsee, who made people sit up and take notice in Pink, is quite good in her action scenes as well as her intense and dramatic scenes in the film and it is evident that the girl has put in her blood, tears and sweat in this role. Bajpayee is quite decent as the intelligence officer, who recruits Shabana, though his heavy North Indian accent makes him sound funny when he mouths some dialogues in English. South star Prithviraj though is utterly wasted in a badly written role while Akshay Kumar in his cameo, is effortlessly cool…
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
NAAM SHABANA may not have an innovative plot but it’s a definite crowd pleaser. The makers have probably planned this probable money spinner banking on the popularity of their previous brilliant BABY and the movie doesn’t disappoint in entertaining the action thriller hungry souls of Bollywood and also gives a soothing nostalgia to the diehard BABY enthusiast. NAAM SHABANA is a decent bahana (reason) for Bollywood makers to start thinking on the spin off genre and churn some more interesting twist.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Like slurping on your favourite soda, Naam Shabana goes down easy as the spy thriller is reassuringly familiar. But it lacks distinct flavour and nourishment as it borrows from several films. The spoon-fed style of storytelling ensures you are never dazzled or confused and every reveal is tiringly repeated, simplified and spelt out. Taapsee Pannu, who surprised many with her high-voltage performance in last year’s gritty courtroom drama Pink, couldn’t have gotten a bigger solo break to showcase her potential. She nails every blow and the ones she endures seem like she’s earned them. Her character’s circumstances demand that she be perennially poker-faced. But even so, she weighs in her fearless, bold and brave Shabana with just the right amount of vulnerability. Prithviraj Sukumaran presents his bad guy avatar with decided restraint and will surely bag similar roles in future. Both Akshay Kumar and Anupam Kher make the most of their limited screen time and even while their body language reads ‘I’m working on a holiday’, they know this film barely demands any more.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Known for making content driven films like A Wednesday and Baby, Naam Shabana is surely a disappointment from producer-writer Neeraj Pandey. However, the flak also goes to director Shivam Nair for a poor execution. First half is flat but raises high hopes in the second half but by then it is too late to even like it.
Review by Vaihayasi Pande Daniel on Rediff
You can delve and come up with not much. I mean it is simply an action film, so bro, what message can you go looking for!? Yet it is an aspirational film. Because the Naam Shabana India, though pretty close to what we have today, has still elements of the India we want to be.
Review by Samrudhi Ghosh on India Today
It is perhaps to the director Shivam Nair’s credit that in spite of the loopholes, Naam Shabana gives us some enjoyable moments. Taapsee is the hero of the film, save in the few scenes with Akshay, when he steals the limelight from her because “itne door se aaya hoon, kuch toh karne do!” And although Taapsee shoulders the film, her name appears in the end credits only AFTER Akshay’s, in spite of his role being only an extended cameo. Sigh.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Naam Shabana is an actioner that fails to paper over its many gaps – and certainly not for want of trying. Aided by cinematographer Sudheer Palsane, director Shivam Nair seeks to create a visually diverse and convincing backdrop. He succeeds to a certain extent. It is the length that sucks the air out of the film.
Naam Shabana Review by Indiaglitz
The director forgot the main point that this movie is about Taapsee and her culmination of becoming a spy. After establishing Taapsee’s backstory the movie forgets her and move towards making a spoof or a pilot shoot of ‘Baby’. Manoj Bajpayee ishighly wasted. There is no substance to his character and probably one of the weakest role of this ace actor in recent times.Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Murli Sharma and Madhurima Tuli are wasted in their small cameo.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The scenes get so predictable, you can step out for a coffee and you wouldn’t have missed anything. The action sequences are good, but the accompanying sound effects are so loud you step out of the theatre and punch your friend playfully to check if that sound effect is replicated. It is not. Obviously. And that is how we wish the next spinoff to be: not so obvious.
Review by IANS on Zeenews
‘Naam Shabana’ is a film of rude awakening, reminding us how much maturity in vision treatment execution and the performances, a film can achieve provided it stops looking for reasons to make audiences happy. Watching this film is a joy, although nothing really happy happens to Shabana. We are just happy that she can fight her own battles even when the odds are stacked sky-high against her.
Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
The cat and mouse game between the agents and the anti-hero is also frustrating, as the viewer may wonder why is it that the shoot-on-sight order is so tough to follow. The climax seems contrived, too. But if you are game to watch some good acting and realistic action sequences, then Naam Shabana should be on your list. But if you are in search of a watertight plot, then this movie has missed that mark.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Naam Shabana, touted to be India’s first spinoff, first story of the making of a spy, and one among several movies headlined by heroines, does not quite live up to the sky-high expectations. Unfortunately, it is not just the direction that falters. Neeraj’s screenplay isn’t as taut as his previous outings either. It lacks the depth of A Wednesday, Baby and Special 26. Unlike his previous stints, even the most important operations, thrilling escapades and edge-of-the-seat suspense sequences are predictable.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
The film is not as gripping or fast-paced as you’d expect a thriller to be. Prithviraj Sumumaran keeps smiling as if he has an inside joke that only he seems to know. Weird part is the plastic surgery angle. Even if a guy changes his face, his height and body doesn’t change. a fact that seems to have missed by the makers. Also it is bizarre that Taapsee becomes an agent after one month of training, and this includes sharp shooting skills. And she is sent after one of the most wanted arms dealer in the world. serious lack of good agents? Songs are jarring and should have been done away with.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
The problem at the root of this film is that it literally offers nothing new, other than the idea of a woman who knows her way around a fight. The plot is predictable from the word go, and yet it unfolds over an excruciating two-and-a-half hours. Familiar faces from Baby – Manoj Bajpai, Danny Denzongpa, Anupam Kher – show up to pad out the narrative, and cast in a negative role Malayalam star Prithviraj Sukumaran brings an appropriately menacing presence. The star attraction though is Tapsee, but strictly when she’s in action-heroine mode, letting her fists and her feet do the talking. Her performance through the rest of the film is strictly one-note.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Despite some parts of the film seeming over-directed through camera angles, background music, awfully edited action sequences and slow-motion, the subtlety mentioned above and some of the character nuances work. Shabana is introduced as a woman who will not be wronged even if she is not entirely right through a sequence rather than a voiceover. That in itself is fresh. Tapsee Pannu adds to the character by the slightest shift in expression. You discover that Shabana likes being wooed by this one guy but she corrects her emotions within a few seconds – and you can see this transition through Tapsee Pannu. On the other hand Manoj Bajpai seems uni-dimensional and Akshay Kumar comes across as comic relief.
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