Saif Ali Khan is back! After battling Mumbai’s humidity (minus a thumb!) for most of the running time of Sacred Games 2, it’s good to see Saif on the big screen in Navdeep Singh’s Laal Kaptaan. From the looks of it, he’s playing a Sadhu/bounty-hunter reminiscent of Christoph Waltz’s dual identity as a dentist/bounty-hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Directed by NH10‘s Navdeep Singh, the film looks like a Western set in pre-independence India, similar to Django Unchained‘s setting in the pre-civil war America.
Produced by Aanand L Rai, the film’s production has been shrouded in secrecy for over a year. And from the trailer, the only thing clear about Saif’s character is that he delivers outlaws – mostly dead, hardly ever alive – to British officials. The film also stars Zoya Hussain, who also starred in Rai’s other production, Mukkabaaz.
Desi adaptation of Westerns aren’t the biggest box office draw, and we’ll have to wait and see if Laal Kaptaan rewrites the rules in Hindi cinema. Abhishek Choubey’s Sonchiriya (arguably the best Hindi film of 2019) was reported to be a huge flop for Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP. Even as Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz didn’t do much to move the needle, one can always be hopeful for aberrations like Paan Singh Tomar.
This is director Navdeep Singh’s third release, after 2007’s Manorma Six Feet Under and 2015’s NH10. Singh has been notorious for being ‘inspired’ by existing films, and doing a good job of rooting them in an Indian setting. Manorama was remake of Hollywood classic, Chinatown, while NH10 was reported to borrow elements from James Watkins’ Eden Lake. Even if he’s borrowing elements from previous films, here’s hoping that he makes it work for Laal Kaptaan.
Here’s the trailer for Laal Kaptaan:
Laal Kaptaan releases on October 18, incidentally a year and a week after Tumbbad – another Aanand L Rai production that was ambitious in its storytelling.