There’s something noble about the word ‘vadh’, as opposed to, merely, murder. The latter can be tawdry, ordinary: the former is used as moral justification to end a life. But is a murder, even if it is of a monster, ever justified?
Schoolmaster Manjunath (Sanjay Mishra) and wife Manju (Neena Gupta) are middle-aged, eking out their precarious middle-class existence in Gwalior. A callous son in the US doesn’t want to know about their troubles, which started because of him and his ambitions. Now that the son has got what he wants, he’s washed his hands off, knowing full well that a pitiless loan shark (Saurabh Sachdeva) is looming darkly over his parents’ life.
‘Vadh’ plays out like a Manohar Kahani, a pulpy tale of murder, where an unlikely killer does away with a bad guy in the most gruesome manner possible. An investigating cop (Manav Vij) and a local hoodlum have their hands in the till, too.
Watch Vadh movie trailer here:
The killing is vividly realised, especially because it happens off screen. We can hear it, and that makes it worse. But what we don’t get is nuance: the sharp edged weapon is wielded bluntly, not just in this part, but through the film. What happens to a good human when he uses his hands to take a life? We get neither doubt nor even the hint of remorse.
We hear the two principal characters defend the murder. One says he slept soundly after doing it. Another says, ‘koi galat kaam nahin kiya’. The swiftness with which the traumatised Manju accepts the deed is unbelievable: it’s one thing to talk of sleeping peacefully, but do you not have nightmares?
Mishra comes off more hangdog than disturbed. And Sachdeva and Vij are clichéd, the former as the leery goon ferrying a girl and a drink around, and the latter as a policeman with something to hide. It’s Neena Gupta who makes us believe in her mother trying to build a bridge between the father and son, and the woman having a hard time, at least to begin with, in wrapping her head around a heinous crime. ‘Paap go gaya’ ( we have sinned), she cries out, in the most effective scene of the film.
Vadh movie cast: Sanjay Mishra, Neena Gupta, Manav Vij, Saurabh Sachdeva
Vadh movie director: Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Rajeev Barnwal
Vadh movie rating: 2 stars