Directed by: Faruk Kabir
Starring: Vidyut Jammwal, Shivaleeka Oberoi, Annu Kapoor, Shiv Panditt, Aahana Kumra
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Release Date: 14 August 2020
Running Time: 133 minutes
Original Network: Disney+ Hotstar
Khuda Haafiz is an upcoming Indian Hindi-language action thriller film written and directed Faruk Kabir. It stars Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi in lead roles, with Annu Kapoor, Aahana Kumra and Shiv Pandit in supporting roles. Set during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the film is inspired by true events and follows Sameer Chaudhary, a young man who races against time to rescue his kidnapped wife Nargis from flesh traders.
The film is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar from 14 August 2020.
Following official announcement in April 2019, shooting commenced near Uzbekistan on 14 October 2019.
On 29 June 2020, Disney+ Hotstar conducted a virtual press conference where Uday Shankar announced the film’s digital release on the platform on 14 August 2020, exclusively as part of the Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex initiative which was a result of cinemas being shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The music for the film was composed by Mithoon while the lyrics written by Mithoon and Sayeed Quadri.
Khuda Haafiz Trailer:
Khuda Haafiz Review:
Vidyut Jammwal will find you and he will kill you in this entertaining but…
The woman-rescue trope has been a staple in cinema. Princesses and brides have forever gone missing and valiant men have scaled mountains and seas in search of them, battling villains and befriending golden-hearted strangers on their way. Over time, the sleeping princesses became teenage daughters and the brave princes became fathers with a ‘very particular set of skills’. But at the core of it, the Taken genre is not vastly different from the fairytales we all grew up with.
Faruk Kabir’s Khuda Haafiz is a modernized version of the same. A damsel is in distress and our hero tears through heavens to bring her back. Sure, it makes for one entertaining watch, but it rarely surprises you.
Khuda Haafiz is said to be inspired by true events about a man’s search for his wife. Vidyut Jammwal plays a software engineer, Sameer, who marries Shivaleeka Oberoi’s call centre employee, Nargis. Their blissful world comes crashing down during the 2007-2008 Recession and they both lose their jobs, forcing them to find employment overseas.
The wife finds a job in a fictitious Middle Eastern country called Noman. He bids her goodbye, hoping to join her in a few days. However, a day later, he gets the dreaded Taken call. The panicked wife tells him that she has been abducted and is being ill-treated by men she does not know. The husband charges straight into Noman International Airport, looking for his missing wife. After suffering an unhelpful Nomani Police and a lazy Indian Embassy, a friendly taxi driver, played by Annu Kapoor, is godsend.
Together, the husband and the driver discover a flesh trade racket in the heart of Noman and his wife trapped in it. With or without the help of police, our software engineer fights 20 men at once, kills a few, drives over a couple of them, all to bring his wife back home.
However, considering Vidyut’s filmography so far, the action is indeed toned down quite a bit. Even with him tackling a couple of dozen men all at once, the action does not seem totally unbelievable. He is not pulling off any helicopter kicks or leaping off cranes but stabbing a man with a fork or throwing chillies in the eyes of another. There is an impromptu, non-choreographed quality to the fight scenes that brings some semblance of reality. Now, only if they didn’t play romantic tunes over shots of blood sprouting out of a goon’s jugular vein.
The music is definitely not the most imaginative. Establishing shots of ‘Noman’ are always preceded by stereotypical ‘Middle Eastern music’ straight out of Alif Laila. Ouds resound every time a bearded general appears, a mob boss smokes hookah or we see a drone shot of any building with a dome. It’s old, it’s lazy and it’s been done to death.
The Nomani public — had it actually existed — would not have been too happy with the representation of their accents either. Now of course there is no Nomani accent to really compare it with but whatever Shiv Panditt and Ahana Kumra were trying to pull off, that wasn’t it. Their accents grow thick and thin with every alternate scene, and each time is more embarrassing than before. While Annu Kapoor did seem more a natural fit in the land of Noman, it was uncanny that so many characters conveniently knew Hindi.
Such a shame though that one of the persons who does know Hindi, gets hardly any opportunity to open her mouth. The first time we meet Nargis, the smitten husband mutes out her voice, just to bask in her beauty. Then on, Shivaleeka merely gets a couple of lines in and nothing thereafter. So little do we know about her that it is hard not to simply think of her as lost luggage on a flight. Even though she is the one who gets abducted, sold into flesh trade and drugged out of her mind, there is not a scene, a minute devoted to actually humanize her.
Khuda Haafiz, therefore, is not without flaws, but it works as an action thriller. Vidyut conveys the nervousness and fear of a man who has lost someone he loves. The dolly zooms and the Snorricam do add to the effect as well. Panic descends upon him when he gets the call, it shows in his eyes and shaking body. Even when the early shock subsides, he carries the nervousness with him.
A by-the-book thriller, Khuda Haafiz is just entertaining enough. Dive even an inch deeper and the flaws are there for anyone to see.
Song Title: Khuda Haafiz – Title Track
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri
Singer(s): Vishal Dadlani
Song Title: Jaan Ban Gaye
Singer(s): Mithoon, Vishal Mishra, Asees Kaur
Song Title: Mera Intezaar Karna
Singer(s): Armaan Malik
Song Title: Aakhri Kadam Tak
Singer(s): Sonu Nigam