Here is one why, not from Shabana but about her: Why does that uninspiring chap Jai love Shabana though she is so unappealing and so listless except when she is in a sporting ring?
There are more whys coming up later in this review.
Taapsee Pannu plays Naam Shabana’s Shabana Khan, a college student and kudo practitioner who is recruited by a top-secret, off-the-grid Indian intelligence agency. Shabana lives in Maharashtra with her mother. Jai is not the only one with an eye on her. An invisible someone is tailing this beautiful, middle-class woman from a congested Mumbai colony. When tragedy strikes her life, we are told what we had already guessed by then: that an unnamed agency was tracking her as a potential recruit.
Naam Shabana is a prequel to the 2015 hit Baby directed by Neeraj Pandey starring Akshay Kumar, with Pannu in a small but memorable supporting role. The new film – produced by Pandey – tells us her character’s story preceding the events in Baby. Since Pannu’s performance and her evident skill in Baby’s fight scenes drew the audience and critical acclaim in 2015, it makes sense that someone thought of making a film placing the spotlight on her.
Malayalam superstar Prithviraj as one of the villains of the plot is handsome as ever and trying his best. The wilting film perks up when he comes on the scene, but the big twist in that passage can be seen coming from a mile and frankly, there is only so much that an actor’s natural charisma can do in the face of writing that lacks conviction.

Still, Naam Shabana is a better film than Baby. It has a more polished appearance, and the idiotic bad guy here is at least less idiotic than the amateurs in the earlier film.

Here is a thought. Next time you make a film centered around a woman, please do so because you have a great story to tell, not because women-centricity is a hot current trend.

And next time you wish to make a prequel to a hit, again, please do so because you have a substantial story to tell, not because you want to cash in on a successful brand.

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