Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 50 minutes, Director – Hansal Mehta
Retelling of the 2016 terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Bangladesh, also told through the eyes of the family of teenager Faraaz (Zahan Kapoor).
There’s no denying that once the violence within Faraaz begins it doesn’t hold back. An almost relentless barrage of mindless killing as terrorists take over the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The film tells the story of the 2016 attack largely from inside the restaurant where those who remain are held hostage, hoping for help to arrive. The scenes are dark and, again, intensely violent as the loudness of certain instances adds to the overall effect. It’s a point helped by the way in which a number of events and developments occur within a sequence instead of one or two points at a time. It helps with both the flow of the film and capturing the various thoughts in the room at the time.
Where things do feel a bit more split up are as we see the response of the police and other authorities, trying to work out both what’s going on and what to do in response. It’s the same for the family of young man Faraaz (Zahan Kapoor) – who is in the restaurant at the time. A wealthy group with political links they’re determined to do everything they can to ensure that he, alongside his friends and other survivors, make it out safely and alive. It’s therefore somewhat strange that we don’t really spend much time with Faraaz as a character. He’s only briefly scene in the same light as almost everyone else in restaurant. Eventually leading to a rather odd feeling when the film suddenly makes a big deal of him and starts to focus on him as a core figure until right towards the very end.
That being said the final stages still manage to work rather well and go by quickly after the film has started to show its almost two hour run-time in the build-up. An effect likely stemming from the fact that it begins to show more of the other players outside of the main building responding in the streets to the situation. It means that things feel that bit more split up and therefore, while not quite jumping around too much, the film is having to get through more in what starts to feel like less time as you can see the path that it’s wanting to go down.
It manages to reach its end point relatively well, if with a few bumps along the way as, as mentioned, it shifts its focus more towards Faraaz. However, there’s still a darkness that brings about a sense of consistency to the proceedings. You feel the threat and the intensity due to the events which unfold so early in the film with a swift depiction of merciless actions. It crops up again at various points and acts as the deepest tonal point of the piece as a whole, working best when made to be a part of a bigger sequence and set of events which there are a number of over the course of the run-time. It certainly may not be for everyone because of this, but it does manage to add something to the drama that’s on display.
While the titular figure doesn’t really properly come into play until towards the end Faraaz is a film mostly concerned with its threat and darkness, which are undeniably felt with an intense push at the start. Things may occasionally feel a bit too split up but there are plenty of connected sequences to help move things along in-between.