A serviceable rehash of the 2011 French thriller Nuit Blanche, Bloody Daddy has plenty of gore, a significantly high body count and a complement of smartly mounted gunfights and duels. By no stretch of the imagination, however, does this Shahid Kapoor-starrer, written, directed and co-produced by Ali Abbas Zafar, come anywhere near being the daddy of all action flicks.
Bloody Daddy, streaming on JioCinema, is marked by technical gloss that is strictly superficial and does not percolate into the film’s heart. When it struggles with the bane of monotony – the smartly staged action sequences come off as too by-the-numbers to be genuinely and thoroughly exhilarating – it trips on its slew of mechanical twists and turns.
Playing a variation on Farzi‘s defiantly amoral middle-class rebel, the lead actor assumes the persona of another anti-hero who plays the game by his own rules. A divorcee and a father who has much to prove, he revels in living dangerously and, as his ex-wife alleges, irresponsibly.
The man’s propensity to barge in where angels fear to tread is revealed in the film’s opening sequence. With an aide by his side, he pulls off a daring early-morning drug heist that leaves one man dead in Delhi’s Connaught Place. The duffle bag that he grabs contains cocaine worth 500 million rupees.
The rest of the action pans out over a single day. Drug dealer Sikandar Chaudhry (Ronit Roy), the owner of the bag and its contents, kidnaps Sumair’s son Atharv (Sartaaj Kakkar) in retaliation and holds the boy captive in his seven-star hotel in Gurugram.
As the hero sets out to rescue his son, it turns out that Sikandar isn’t the only adversary that he must contend with. A couple of anti-narcotics cops, Sameer (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Aditi (Diana Penty), for reasons that aren’t exactly apparent to begin with, are out to get him.
If the two-pronged attack on him weren’t enough, Sumair runs into a gangster named Hameed (Sanjay Kapoor), who lands up in the hotel to lay claims to the stolen bag of cocaine. Trouble is Sumair no longer knows where the bag is.
He gropes in the dark for the missing cocaine and his kidnapped son as hotel guests go all out to enjoy themselves. The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has just ended and the lockdown has been lifted. Everybody is ready to thrown caution to the wind. Nobody more so than Sumair.
A wedding anniversary party is underway at the hotel and the revellers are awaiting the arrival of Badshah, who is due to perform at the event. But for Sumair, nothing that is going on is of any significance. His focus is squarely in rescuing Atharv.
Music and mayhem go hand in hand in Bloody Daddy. Blood is spilled to the beats of songs belted out in the background. But the violins play second fiddle to the violence. Even when it is Badshah’s turn to give full rein to his vocal cords, the number is rudely interrupted by a power cut.
Bloody Daddy is not so much a high-octane father-son drama as a straight-up crime caper that attempts too many fancy narrative somersaults for its own good. Also in the mix is the story of three skewed brothers – Sikandar, Danny (Vivan Bhathena) and Vicky (Ankur Bhatia) – focused on getting their hands on the elusive brown duffle bag.
The ‘bloodied’ daddy of the film – he has a wound in the stomach sustained in the opening sequence – leaves a trail of destruction in his wake. Armed with resolve, resilience and raw courage, he is determined to rise in the esteem of his sceptical son as well as get a whole bunch of bloodthirsty men off his back.
One of Sumair’s many violent foes yells at one point of the film: What the f*** is happening? That is our question too. The protagonist is an inveterate party-pooper. In one sequence, he barges into a banquet hall, clambers on to the table and sends the wine and champagne glasses tumbling.
One of the hero’s favoured sites, along with the men’s room, is the hotel kitchen where a protracted action sequence is staged. Another one unfolds in the gaming room. By the time the action moves out of the hotel and spills on to the streets, many a reveal has been made, changing the rules of engagement completely.
Bloody Daddy is about corrupt cops, undercover agents, drug peddlers and moles going for the jugular and ending up on all fours, a state that reflects the fate of the film as a whole. It scampers and stumbles its way through orchestrated chaos aimed at hitting the highs of visceral energy.
The screenplay by Ali Abbas Zafar and Aditya Basu employs largely conventional means to put together a concoction that has its share of thrills but lacks the emotional connect that a film about a father out to save his son should have had.
Bloody Daddy does not exactly test Shahid Kapoor, who takes to the role like a fish to water, which, needless to say, does not, in terms of the performance, translate into anything more than just adequate. Everyone else in the cast is trapped in zones in which there isn’t much room for manoeuvre.
The bad guys (Ronit Roy and Sanjay Kapoor) and the cops (Rajeev Khandelwal and Diana Penty) are accorded roughly equal weightage, but they are all reduced to operate under the shadow of the man who bites off more than he can chew but survives to tell the tale – the ‘bloody daddy’ of the title.
So, is Bloody Daddy a bloody mess? Not quite. But it isn’t a full-blooded affair either.
Shahid Kapoor, Ronit Roy, Diana Penty, Rajeev Khandelwal, Sanjay Kapoor
Ali Abbas Zafar