Badla is Engaging, But Only if You Haven’t Watched the Original

If you haven’t watched the original film, Badla is a powerful watch with a tight edit and moments of good suspense.

Movie Reviews
2 min read


Badla is Engaging, But Only if You Haven’t Watched the Original

The best thing about a thriller is that it should keep you guessing till the end. It should engage you and challenge you. It should be able to pull the rug from under your feet right when you think you have it all sorted.

Badla has all these elements, thanks to Sujoy Ghosh‘s efficient direction and adapted screenplay from the Spanish original The Invisible Guest.

The latter is on Netflix, and if you have already seen it, then Badla will offer a very different viewing experience, with not many surprises to boast about.

Sujoy Ghosh has tried to ‘indianise’ portions of it while remaining largely loyal to the original. This means that the many plot twists and turns, the delectable suspense and the foreboding tone all seem familiar. Some inconsequential liberties have been taken, but the outcome remains the same.


Ghosh could have set the story in India but he chose Glasgow. For inexplicable reasons, there are only desis who eventually matter — like the police officer Denzil Smith or Manav Kaul, who plays Naina Sethi’s (played by Taapsee Pannu) close friend. Everyone else is gora and glossed over.

We are more taken in by the performances and Avik Mukhopadhyay‘s camerawork than the edge-of-your-seat suspense. Here is a whodunnit where we know who has done it, so it’s more a matter of enjoying the journey than about reaching the destination.

However, if you are an Invisible Guest ‘virgin’, Badla is a powerful watch with a tight edit and moments of delightful suspense. The setting for the most part is a small room, where Naina is in conversation with her lawyer Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan). She has three hours to come up with a reliable story in order to avoid jail time, while the prosecution try their level best to charge her with murdering her lover.

There are many versions of the truth and the narrators one can’t always trust. Naina and Arjun (Tony Luke) are having an affair on the sly when tragedy strikes . They think the worst is over when Naina finds herself in a hotel room with Arjun’s lifeless body. Matters become complicated as a middle aged couple played by Amrita Singh and Tanveer Ghani are trying to desperately look for their son who seems to have gone missing.


Various versions of the same story are narrated to us. As a viewer, one is totally invested in trying to found out which version seems the most probable.

In the acting department, Taapsee Pannu and Amrita Singh deliver a powerful performance — pitch perfect and arresting! Amitabh Bachchan and his booming baritone voice as usual command our undivided attention.

But somehow, the climax seems a little more contrived than in the original given his characteristic screen presence .

Overall, only if you have steered clear of the Spanish original on Netflix, Badla will prove to be an engaging thriller.

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