Neeraj Pandey mostly considered to deliver patriotic films have made his comeback again and this time he chose the action genre. A women centric film starring Taapsee Pannu in the lead and the prequel to the multi-starrer film 'Baby', 'Naam Shabana' is that film which celebrates women power. While the film 'Baby' showed Shabana as the agent, this film shows how she got trained for the position.
The film is a story of an ordinary girl Shabana Khan(Taapsee Pannu) from Mumbai who is surrounded with a rather dark past. She kills her own father who is a drunkard. Another tragic incident which changes her whole life is when one night her boyfriend gets killed by the hands of some hooligans. The Judiciary system fails to locate them, this is when she receives a call from Ranveer (Manoj Bajpayee) who promises her to help her complete her revenge but only on the condition that after her revenge, she will completely work for the agency. Shabana gets trained in the hands of Ranveer and is sent on a mission to kill the arms and drugs dealer Mikhail(Prithviraj Sukumaran), she is accompanied with officer Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar).
Taapsee has definitely left an impression with her role and the action sequences she indulges in. As very less action films are made with women in lead it is Taapsee make us believe that she too can kick some serious butt. Manoj Bajpayee is excellent as usual and we cannot take a doubt on his acting (His one dialogue which takes a dig at the sportsmen can be ignored). But it is Akshay Kumar who impresses us the most with his commendable cameo. Each and every frame of Mr. Kumar either shows him mouthing some witty dialogues or indulging in fights. Prithviraj Sukumaran as Mikhail seems to be bit tangled in the story-line. The original cast from the film 'Baby' Anupam Kher, Madhurima Tuli, Danny Denzongpa too enjoy some screen space in this film.
As very less prequels are made, the director Shivam Nair should be appreciated for taking this risk. Though the first half of the film is a bit slow but the second half is quiet entertaining. Shivam Nair's execution of the story is on the right track but seems off-beat sometimes. Talking about the cinematography the action sequences are captured very well. Stunt director Cyril Raffaeli should be mentioned as he has trained Taapsee up to the mark and the action scenes don't look artificial anywhere. The editing should have made much more crispier which would have added the required pace to the script. The song 'Rozana' shows us the emotional side of Shabana and 'Zinda' shows her passion and dedication towards her work. Though the songs are good, it seems that sometimes they don't go with the flow.
'Naam Shabana' offers a fair treat in the form of the actors but somewhere fails to leave its mark like the sequel. The slow pace of the story-line and the dialogues can be blamed for this let down. Filled with action and only action, the film is highly recommended ONLY for all the ardent followers of Akshay Kumar and Taapsee Pannu as well. And of course for the vivid fans of the sequel 'Baby.'