Cast: John Abraham, Ravi Kishan, Mrunal Thakur

Rating: ***1/2

Director: Nikhil Advani

What’s it about:

A bloody encounter by a special cell of Delhi police following the serial blasts of 2008, raises questions and controversies about its veracity. The film presents a true account of the real incidents from the perspective of the Delhi police. 


John Abraham is usually an actor with one note expressions, but as ACP Sanjay Kumar Yadav in Batla House, his single expression works as restrain that was much needed for the role. John plays the real-life super cop Sanjeev Kumar – the much-decorated officer, who played a crucial role in the controversial encounter. But as the film progresses, you see various perspectives of the encounter and also Sanjay’s inner struggle to cope with the post-traumatic disorder. John ably pulls off the tension created due to his professional life spilling over into his personal life. Although, the track with his wife played by Mrunal Thakur is weak and minus any sort of chemistry. It does little more than underlining the fact that their marriage is on the rocks. 

What works for the film is its treatment and the non-linear narrative. Especially, how director Nikhil Advani unfolds the crucial encounter scene layer by layer, through different perspectives. Ravi Kishan as firebrand inspector KK Varma is quite impressive. The length of his role is small but it’s very crucial too.

Thankfully, the music doesn’t play spoilsport in the film by stalling its pace. The background score gets increasingly loud but helps in building the tension. The second half is way more interesting and thrilling. 

The film’s cinematography establishing the by lanes of Delhi and small towns of Uttar Pradesh is quite effective too. Same cannot be said for actor Rajesh Sharma, who looks laughable in a mop of a white-haired wig. It’s hard to take him seriously like the defense lawyer, so much so that he brings down the credibility of the important courtroom scenes as well.

But apart from a few glitches, Batla House is an entertaining and power-packed thriller that reveals the nuances of a much-publicized encounter case. It hits the ground running from the word go and reaches its destination with minor bumps on the way.