Laal Kaptaan has unique elements to play with but it concentrates on various historic details so much that it forgets to portray an interesting revenge story.
“Time is a flat circle,” Rustin Cohle says in the first season of True Detective. “Everything we have done or will do, we will do over and over and over again forever.”
This is the overall central theme or rather central dialogue topic of Laal Kaptaan’s plot because almost every other dialogue is just a different version of the aforementioned quote, having the same meaning but different words. A revenge saga of Naga Sadhu ( Saif Ali Khan ) which has the uniqueness of delaying the known. Since the beginning of the movie, you know Gossain ( Saif Ali Khan) is after a man named Rehmat Khan
( Manav Vij) because of something Rehmat Khan did in the past when the British officials attacked India during the late 1700s. This is a period drama having relevance to the original historic events and kingdoms like Awadh, Maratha, Mughal, Rajputs, etc. The real question of this revenge tale is that Who is Gossain? and why is he doing what he is doing?. The plot answers these two questions in the end but it gets too late. Also, the answer to these questions is so predictable and dull that even a thirteen years old child could guess it if he/she was allowed to enter the theatres.
I was so excited that I will come to see a role similar to that of Langda Tyagi and his partner Deepak Dobriyal reviving their spectacular chemistry of Omakara in a different period and plot but sadly there are very little moments among them and that too are quite boring. Deepak Dobriyal is the real-life location tracker of this drama who smells horse shit and tells the direction in which the horse went. Manav Vij as Rehmat Khan doesn’t get much flavor to his character, a revenge saga in a period drama needs to have a villain who is unique not the one who kills every doubt or the person who disrespects him. At times it looks like the only good thing present on the screen is the amazing cinematography of the ravines and some in and out sword battles during night and day.
Gossain met Rehmat three times and didn’t kill him, either because someone intervenes or because he wasted too much time to make a lyrical death. Rehmat doesn’t kill Gossain because of his stupid beliefs about him being connected to someone powerful. Zoya Hussain's character is underwritten and very naïve. Or rather Zoya’s character is the only perfect character in this world full of imperfect characters. A perfect characterization of a man /woman is of no use, she is just an added spice that might serve as a satisfaction factor for some but actually, the spice is tasteless. Dialogues appear philosophical, powerful but are very monotonous covering short premises. Death, Time, Karma. Repeat. The costumes, makeups and physical appearances of all the characters are neatly detailed but the direction of the movie by Navdeep Singh ( Manorama Six Feet Under, NH10) is just ordinary. The narration techniques look pretty old-fashioned and soporific. The background score is average and appears forceful at some places.
Overall the plot and the director had many elements with which he could have created magic but failed to do so.
FINAL VERDICT - 1.5 / 5.