Bloody Daddy Movie Review: Shahid Kapoor’s slick actioner works better as a Covid satire

With a heavy hangover of John Wick, this Ali Abbas Zafar film stumbles at points
Bloody Daddy Movie Review: Shahid Kapoor’s slick actioner works better as a Covid satire

I expected watching Shahid Kapoor in Bloody Daddy roast goons with a flamethrower to be more satisfying. A gentle caress to all the fragile male egos out there. A stinging reply to all the critics of Mausam (2011). A sweet validation to all men who have —at some points in their lives— failed as a son, a husband, a father. Yes, our college girlfriend married a guy from her caste (she was forced to). Yes, we have no money to buy a jersey for our son. Yes, our grandfather found out that we were printing counterfeit currency. So what? Say hello to my little friend.

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Ronit Roy, Sanjay Kapoor, Rajeev Khandelwal, Zeishna Quadri and Diana Penty

Directed by: Ali Abbas Zafar

Streaming on: JioCinema

But sadly, both Bloody Daddy, the film, and its flamethrower run out of fuel too quickly. It, although, starts on a high. A consignment of drugs is being looted from a car after a deliberate accident in the middle of Delhi’s Connaught Place. The masked raiders (the film is set post-pandemic) are Shahid Kapoor’s Sumair and Jaggi, played by Zeishan Quadri (seasoned shooter of car windows since Gangs of Wasseypur). But, just like every drug deal (or steal) in cinema, this one too goes wrong. One of the deliverymen is shot by Quadri, another leaves a gash at Shahid’s tanned abs before escaping on a Metro. That’s not the real problem. Sumair’s mask had come off and the henchman had seen his face. Now, he is exposed to the NCR drug mafia and, as stated by the film’s dystopian opening disclaimer, to coronavirus too. Thankfully, he buys another mask later.

Shahid’s check shirt and high-top fade hairstyle might be misleading but he is actually an anti-narcotics officer, a corrupt, probably a rogue, cop (“The rascal is an alcoholic”). There are troubles on the home front too. His ex-wife considers him a lackadaisical father and his son prefers lactose-free milk. Enter drug kingpin Sikandar Chowdhary, played zanily, in velvet-red suits, by Ronit Roy. Sikandar has kidnapped Sumair’s son and he wants his drugs back. “Let’s keep it simple yaar,” he tells him over a call, while smoking a Cuban cigar like a Bond villain.

But director Ali Abbas Zafar won’t go for simplicity. The action and the plot contained in a hotel (Emerald Etlantis) gets lost somewhere in its labyrinthine corridors. There is a heavy hangover of John Wick as Shahid, dressed in a black suit, makes his way among drunk revellers partying in a glitzy club. Although the makers, before the release, stated that the reason for the film’s direct OTT landing is its violence and use of expletives, no blood blots Shahid’s chiseled cheekbones when he jabs knives in necks. In a bid to appear Tarantino-esque, the action, at times, dissolves in the beats of Punjabi music in the backdrop. The camera flips more than henchmen being kicked in the chest. The hand-to-hand combats lack threat and urgency. Shahid is overpowered by Rajeev Khandelwal but hurls a burlesque Vivan Bhatena to the wall.

An adaptation of 2011 French action-thriller Sleepless Night (which was remade in 2015 in Tamil as Thoongaa Vanamstarring Kamal Haasan), Bloody Daddy should have presented itself as an action-comedy. It shines when it takes light of itself. Especially in the cuss-filled interactions between Sanjay Kapoor’s blingy gangster Hameed Shaikh and Roy’s Sikandar. Sanjay brings a necessary, comic vexation to the film (“What the hell is happening?”) and is aided by Roy’s poker-faced retorts. Bloody Daddy is more of a Covid-19 satire than a gritty, gutsy actioner. There are digs at Covid weddings, Shahid chides his son for wearing a mask while taking lunch (“How will you eat with that on?”), Kapoor’s sidekick asks him if he can smell, when he can’t taste the coke (“Do… you have Covid?”), a drum is beaten and the crowd chants ‘Go Corona Go’ in a packed nightclub. I would have liked to see more of that. It would have been a different film, but maybe, it would have been better.

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