Parineeti Chopra’s recent films might not have worked at the box office but she has proved her worth as an actor, be it in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar or Saina or The Girl On The Train. The latter was directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and she joins hands with him yet again for Code Name Tiranga. Sadly, the film is a big disappointment.

The story of the movie: Durga (Parineeti Chopra) works for the RAW and is a part of the Special Ops unit. The government of India is looking for Khalid Omar (Sharad Kelkar), a dreaded terrorist for 20 years. Durga along with her senior colleague, Ajay Bakshi (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) manage to find out that he’ll be attending a wedding ceremony two months later in Kabul, Afghanistan. Realizing that this is the best chance to eliminate Khalid, Durga assumes the identity of Ismat, a journalist, and moves to Kabul. She befriends Dr Mirza Ali (Harrdy Sandhu), as he’s a friend of the groom and will be invited to the wedding. The idea is to get very close to Mirza so that she can tag along with him at the wedding. As luck would have it, Mirza falls for Ismat aka Durga. Durga, too, develops feelings for him. They get married. Two months later, they attend the wedding. Durga is in touch with a special unit that has flown down from India to kill Khalid. Sadly, Omar doesn’t come to the wedding. He sends a lookalike and this comes to light when Durga and the Indian forces open fire. Realizing that she has been exposed, she runs away, breaking Mirza’s heart. A few months later, Durga is in the Gulf Of Aqaba, Jordan, when she gets the news from her senior Ranjit Kapur (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) that Ajay Bakshi needs to be killed as he might have joined hands with the enemies. Ajay is in Gaziantep and Durga immediately flies down to the Turkish town. In a strange turn of events, Ajay is captured by Khalid’s men and taken hostage at the latter’s residence. The ISI’s top official (Shishir Sharma) reaches Gaziantep. He asks Omar to hand over Ajay to them. They then plan to reveal to the world that Ajay was caught in Pakistan, to embarrass India. Durga, with the help of a local contact Kabir Ali (Rajit Kapur), finds out about Omar’s whereabouts. With an almost foolproof plan, Durga enters Khalid’s residence despite heavy security. Sadly, she gets exposed. She opens fire and it kills Khalid’s wife. In the ensuing madness, Durga throws a grenade and Ajay is presumably killed. She gets severely injured due to a gunshot. She escapes and runs into none other than Dr Mirza Ali.

Speaking of performances, Parineeti Chopra puts her best forward and it shows. She looks every inch a rough-and-tough spy and seems confident while doing the action scenes. Harrdy Sandhu looks dashing and delivers a fine performance. Sharad Kelkar gives a good performance but is let down by the writing. Dibyendu Bhattacharya gets an important role to play and is passable. Rajit Kapur is fair. Shishir Sharma, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Deesh Mariwala are okay.

Songs don’t work. ‘Ki Kariye’, ‘Dumadum Mast Kalandar’ and ‘Mera Yaar Re’ fail to register. Gilad Benamram‘s background score could have been better. Tribhuvan Babu Sadineni‘s cinematography is spectacular. That the film has been shot in never-before-seen locations of a Hindi film also aids the lensman. Sunil Nigvekar‘s production design and Ashish Dwyer‘s costumes are appropriate. Yannick Ben‘s action is a bit gory but it works for a film of this sort. Sangeeth Varghese‘s editing could had been slicker.

Ribhu Dasgupta‘s story is okay and could have made for a well-made spy thriller. Ribhu Dasgupta’s screenplay seems to have borrowed scenes and plot points from numerous such films of Bollywood like Baby, Tiger Zinda Hai, Special Ops etc and also some Hollywood films. A few scenes, however, stand out. Ribhu Dasgupta and Vidit Tripathi‘s dialogues are nothing special.

Ribhu Dasgupta‘s direction is weak. Since audiences have already seen many spy films, the execution ought to have been extraordinary in order to generate the desired impact. However, Ribhu makes a mess. The romantic track is weak and one doesn’t feel anything for the lovers. The way Mirza falls for Durga and even marries her, without knowing her family, is difficult to digest. The villain also doesn’t induce any fear or awe. It’s difficult to imagine that he’s a most-wanted terrorist and he seems like a small-time, local gangster! Some scenes are smart but the way it’s executed spoils the fun. For instance, the scene where Durga impersonates the Urdu tutor and the way she manages to save herself sounded like a great scene on paper. But due to the direction, viewers will find it difficult to comprehend the trick that Kabir uses to save Durga. The same goes for the morose code scene. The spoon-feeding done in the second half by showing the flashback also fails to entice.

On the whole, Code Name Tiranga boasts of a fine performance by Parineeti Chopra and never-before-seen locations in a Hindi film. But it fails to impress as it’s poorly directed, the love story is weak and also because it gives a déjà vu of popular action spy films of Bollywood as well as Hollywood.

My rating – ** out of 5!

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