‘Wild Dog’, produced by Matinee Entertainment, hit the cinemas today (April 2). In this section, we are going to review the action drama.
When a terror mastermind by the name of Khalid (Malhottra Shivam) escapes India and turns into a religious preacher in Nepal, suspended top cop Vijay Varma (Akkineni Nagarjuna) leads a secret operation with his trusted lieutenants to nab the terorrist who is responsible for the Hyderabad blasts of 2007. In this brave mission, he gets assistance from Arya Pandit (Saiyami Kher), a RAW agent and DGP Hemanth (Atul Kulkarni).
In his team are included characters played by Ali Reza, Mayank Parekh, Prakash Sudarsan and Pradeep.
The film boasts impressive performances from the ensemble cast. Nagarjuna is authentic in the role of an NIA officer who is ruthless when it comes to getting things done. His scenes with his team of intrepid men stand out. While the likes of Saiyami and Atul are not familiar to the Telugu audience, they make a mark without feeling out of place. Mayank Parakh is a talented actor and proves to be a very good choice. Dia Mirza, who plays Nag’s wife, doesn’t have much space in the story.
In this songless film, it fell upon S Thaman to give arresting background music. And he dishes out what a true-blue actioner like this film wanted. The BGM in the action scenes is superb. Shaneil Deo’s cinematography is top-notch, with the frames shot in Manali, Jammu and Leh (shown as Nepal in the film), being among the most technically superior.
David Ismalone of ‘Fast & Furious 7’ fame brings authenticity to the action scenes in terms of leaving his imprint on how the actors hold the weapons, the staging of the scenes, etc. Bollywood’s Sham Kaushal does the major part of the work and his action choreography deserves kudos.
Writer-director Ahishor Solomon tells a formula-driven story sans songs. In the universe of commercial cinema, films featuring a star hero don’t ordinarily dare to not have any songs or typical tracks (romantic or otherwise). In avoiding such easy options, ‘Wild Dog’ attempts to be a distinct attempt.
The initial moments go into establishing the characters without wasting much time. The conversations are brief, and everything is crisp. The track involving Nag and his wife is not prolonged in spite of there being a typical element within the sub-plot.
Nag’s daredevilry and his temperament are projected without much fuss. It’s a plus as far as the narration style is concerned.
The second half looks somewhat better than the first one. Story-wise, the film shifts to Nepal, where an undercover operation puts Vijay Varma and his team at enormous risk. The last 20 minutes are suspenseful.
On the flip side, ‘Wild Dog’ struggles to steer clear of some predictable tropes. The film could have been way better, considering that the audience is exposed to a lot of action thrillers these days on OTT. There should have been gut-wrenching drama.
The story is set in the late 2000s. A sense of time should have been made clear to the audience in an effective way.
‘Wild Dog’ deserves praise when it comes to its technical finesse. The performances are a plus. The second half is well-crafted. However, there are too many familiar elements that take the zing out of the drama. There is not edgy feel either. The family audience are most likely not to find anything irresistible in it.