Lakadbaggha is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language action thriller film produced by First Ray Films & directed by Victor Mukherjee and starring Anshuman Jha, Ridhi Dogra, Paresh Pahuja and Milind Soman. The film had its World Premiere on 21 December 2022, at the prestigious Kolkata International Film Festival & its International Premiere on 28 December 2022 at the HBO South Asian International Film Festival, New York.
The film also won the Best Actor Award for Anshuman Jha at the HBO South Asian International Film Festival for his humane portrayal of the animal lover vigilante.
The discussion surrounding street dogs has grown in recent years, although it is hardly ever brought up in movies. In this case, the animal-loving vigilante who defends the indigenous breeds, played by director Victor Mukherjee, is an intriguing addition to the Indian film landscape. Also, it is commendable that a movie focuses on an endangered but less attractive species like a striped hyena in a nation that frequently still has a fascination with tigers and elephants.
After his dog goes missing, Arjun Bakshi, an animal lover, decides to take action. He encounters an endangered species of Indian black-striped hyena (Lakadbaggha) while on the search and discovers Kolkata’s illegal pet trade. Will he be able to rescue other animals and reconcile with his dog at the same time.
Unique ideas can occasionally take a story to the next level, but Victor Mukherjee’s film lacks in execution. The idea of ‘Lakadbaggha’ is intriguing and engaging in many ways. The plot is set in Kolkata and centers on Arjun Bakshi (Anshuman Jha), a vigilante who knocks the crap out of those who hurt animals at night while working as a martial arts instructor for children during the day. He starts a hunt after his pet Shanku goes missing, which leads him to an illicit animal trade operation. He stumbles onto the rare Indian black-striped hyena (Lakadbaggha), which is also being traded, in the midst of everything. Will Arjun be able to stop this and save all the animals.
Alok Sharma’s idea is original, so it first keeps you interested, but as the movie goes on, the story loses its impact. especially post-interval, which could have easily been shortened by approximately 20 minutes and felt unnecessarily prolonged. The finest thing that anyone will root for in this 128-minute movie are the high-octane action scenes, which were directed by Kecha Khamphakdee, who won the National Award for action direction for “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.” From the outset when Arjun vanquishes the enemies to the thrilling conclusion, the fighting scenes are expertly orchestrated. However, the same cannot be true about the movie’s visual effects, as it is obvious that VFX were used to create the hyena.
Regarding performances, ‘LSD (Love Sex Aur Dhokha)’ star Anshuman Jha did a fantastic job as a vigilante. He has a neighborhood kid’s appearance, but he performs multiple hand-to-hand fighting action scenes successfully. Milind Soman has a minor but important role as Arjun’s father and mentor. With this movie, Ridhi Dogra makes her Bollywood debut after showcasing her talent in a variety of roles on the OTT platform. Akshara D’souza, a confident cop in the crime branch, may be mistaken for her. Both Dogra and Jha excel in their action parts, especially the gym scene where she battles him. Their on-screen chemistry, though, is lackluster. Playing the antagonist Aryan effectively is Paresh Pahuja.
Lakadbaggha (hyena), which is set in Kolkata, follows Arjun (Anshuman Jha), a recluse who by day teaches martial arts to kids and at night transforms into a protector of the street dogs who are utilized in the drug and meat trades. The government dispatches crime branch officer Akshara (Riddhi Dogra) to track down the hooded vigilante whose name is unknown as his deeds gain attention on social media. Because of a previous occurrence, Akshara and her brother (Paresh Pahuja) despise animals, but as the case develops, Akshara and Arjun get closer. When Arjun learns that Akshara’s brother is running a shadowy animal trading organization that deals in hyenas, things take an intriguing turn.
While the intentions are good and some of the combat scenes are powerful, the plot becomes overly basic and the acting has an unprofessional quality that asks too much of the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief. Anyone could tell that the hyena images were created through copying and pasting.
It is difficult to imagine that Akshara was unable to identify Arjun, and the authors fail to provide any explanation for why Arjun kept entering the police officer’s territory. The fact that every character practices martial arts simply because the protagonist is an expert martial artist is similarly ridiculous. Saving stray dogs is a nice idea, but feeding dogs in the middle of a street that can be driven on at night is not acceptable. The background score doesn’t do much to lift the mood, and the scene featuring Arjun and his father (Milind Soman) should have been far more powerful.
Having saying that, Mukherjee is saved by strong performances. Anshuman accurately depicts both the body language of a combatant and the reflective expression of a youngster who enjoys isolation. He rarely looks Akshara in the eye and always gives the other guy a chance to prove himself. As a police officer torn between duty and love, Riddhi makes for an appealing character, and Paresh makes for an evil foe.
Even if it’s good, a few more revisions may have made this crazy concept with all its potential into something that parents and teenagers would find intriguing to watch.
- Anshuman Jha as Arjun Bakshi.
- Riddhi Dogra as Akshara D’Souza.
- Paresh Pahuja as Aryan.
- Milind Soman as Arjun’s father.
- Eksha Kerung as The Girl With No Name.
- Bijou Thaangjam as Shopkeeper.
- Kharaj Mukherjee as Arjun’s uncle.
- Denzil Smith guest appearance.
“Lakadbaggha will entertain you with its scrupulousness, an unusual plot, and top-notch performances,” a CNN-News18 critic remarked. According to a reviewer from The Hindu, “Though not bad, a few more drafts would have turned this wild idea with myriad possibilities into a compelling watch for teenagers and their parents.”According to a reviewer for The Telegraph, “Lakadbaggha, starring Anshuman Jha, is a comic book-style action movie with a dash of romance.”A reviewer for The Times of India stated, “In Lakadbaggha, Anshuman Jha of ‘LSD (Love Sex Aur Dhokha)’ fame has beautifully portrayed a vigilante.
He appears to be the kid next door, but he performs a number of hand-to-hand combat action scenes expertly. “Lakadbaggha takes up too many issues and does not do them justice,” a Rediff critic commented of the book.