STORY: After her mother Shakuntala Desai’s death under mysterious circumstances, the Desai Group of Industries scion Aarya (Alia Bhatt) vows to avenge the murder and bring the culprits to justice. And, in order to honour her mother’s last wish, Aarya embarks on a journey to Kailash and the story of ‘Sadak 2’ unfolds.
REVIEW: Her entire family – comprising the maasi-turned-step-mother Nandini Maa (Priyanka Bose) and father Yogesh (Jisshu Sengupta) – is under the spell of ‘dhongi sadhu’ Gyaan Prakash (Makarand Deshpande) but Aarya, all of 20, knows better. Utterly convinced that her beloved mother died owing to an elaborate plan hatched by Gyaan Prakash and that ‘disease’ Nandini, Aarya launches an online campaign called ‘India Fights Fake Gurus’. Her motivation is to reveal the truth behind these supposed messengers of God and debunk the myth and mystery surrounding them. While treading along this mission, Aarya falls in love with a former troll – a very good-looking musician with issues of his own, Vishal (Aditya Roy Kapur). Together, they embark on a pilgrimage to fulfil Aarya’s maa-ka-aakhri-sapna of visiting Kailash on her 21st birthday.
However, there is a small hurdle – the booking agent/ co-owner of Pooja Travels and Tours (that guarantees safety and security 24*7) is now dead and her taxi driver husband Ravi’s (Sanjay Dutt) only purpose in life is to reunite with her in Heaven. After much cajoling and persuasion, the heartbroken cabbie reluctantly says yes. Soon after, they find solace in each other and a unique friendship blossoms that is a win-win for both – Aarya derives strength and hope from the lonely man and Ravi seeks a new purpose in life through this young girl driven to achieve what she is set out to do.
Back in the 90s, when ‘Sadak’, starring Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt, hit the theatres, it was such a rage among the audience; for two reasons: the incredible love ballads and its engaging plotline. 20 years on, Mahesh Bhatt conjures up a script to take that story on the road again.
‘Sadak 2’ starts off with a grim, almost melancholic setting, where the hopeless protagonist Ravi is tying a rope around his neck and talking to his deceased wife Pooja about their impending reunion in the afterlife. But the fan that he is hanging on to comes crashing down, and Ravi has to live another day. While listening to ‘Hum Tere Bin Kahin Reh Nahin Paate’ (such nostalgia, much wow!) in his garage and planning yet another exit, his door bolts open and a hyper Aarya storms in demanding her three-month advance booking be honoured. Thus, begins a journey of random twists-and-turns, both on the road and off it, and a screenplay that goes down various routes and eventually hits a dead-end.
We don’t know where to begin with: the dialogues are dated and over the top. It’s been decades since we heard anyone in the movies say ‘Jo garjte hai woh baraste nahi’ or ‘Aadmi karz lauta sakta hain, ehsaan nahin’. No matter what the logic is, co-writers Pushpdeep Bhardwaj, Mahesh Bhatt and Suhrita Sengupta could have done much better with the writing that is so passé. Now shifting focus to the set design and overall look-and-feel of the movie: the gundas wear flashy and eye-popping outfits, big wigs and enact dramatic knife-wielding scenes on camera topped with caricaturish action sequences. The background score by Sandeep Chowta deserves a special mention here and not for the right reasons – it’s melodramatic and borderline annoying.
Alia Bhatt, who is known for her fine performances on screen, falls flat this one time. Apart from a few emotional scenes, this act – by her own high standards – is strictly average. Aditya Roy Kapur doesn’t have much role to play besides looking smoking hot and after a point, he appears aloof and even takes a back seat. Sanjay Dutt pulls off his emotional scenes quite well with those welled-up bulgy eyes doing all the talking. Even at this age, he sure knows how to bring off an action sequence – taking down the baddies one by one. In a smaller role, Jisshu Sengupta as Alia’s daddy is impactful and he totally owns the few frames that he has in this action-drama. On the other hand, seasoned actors like Makarand Deshpande and Priyanka Bose deliver some unbelievably overblown acting. Their pseudo holy/ satanic act is hilarious to the core and quite frankly, at times we wonder whether to laugh or cry even during the emotionally-charged scenes.
It is rather disappointing to see a filmmaker of Mahesh Bhatt’s stature to make a comeback as a director with ‘Sadak 2’. No offense… but why this, Bhatt saab?
In a nutshell, ‘Sadak 2’, for everyone involved with this project, should have been a ‘road not taken’. And for those who are planning on watching this purely for sentimental reasons, be forewarned: This Sadak leads nowhere; turn back. Jai Guru ji!