The film begins in the year 1973 in the deserts of Rajasthan. Geetanjali (Ileana D’Cruz), a princess from one of Rajasthan's princely states, resists the overtures of politician Sanjeev (Priyanshu Chatterjee) who is after her life and a treasure chest that she had saved for bad times. In 1975 Emergency was declared in India.
Maharani Gitanjali has already lost her privy purse. Now, she fears that she will lose the last treasure chest of gold, which has been forcibly taken away from her. So she asks her trusted lieutenant, Bhawani (Ajay) to plan a heist to get her back the treasure chest. Bhawani, who is madly in love with Gitanjali, promises her that he will win her treasure back. So he chooses a motley group of persons as his crew for the mission —a lock picker, Tikla(Sanjay Mishra), Dalia(Emraan), and Sanjana(Esha). The roadblock in their whole plan is in the form of the police inspector Seher (Vidyut Jammwal).
The rest of the film is about the various twists and turns that occur in the course of the mission. The premise of the film is interesting - four 'badasses' on a mission to steal the treasure chest from the army. The film begins on a promising note. The first half of the film is quite racy, with the chase sequences between the badasses and the army in the deserts of Rajasthan living up to the film's premise of being a stylised action thriller. The film's fast pace in the first half keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats.
Also, some of the one liners mouthed by Ajay and Emraan lend the film a massy feel, evoking claps from the audience. However, the film fails to maintain its pace in the second half. It seems to lose its direction with unnecessary romantic scenes in between the action scenes breaking the tempo of the film. Also , some of the actions by the protagonists come across as too predictable and obvious.
Even the one liners in the second half fail to leave an impact and seem repetitive. The second half thus fails to maintain the racy feel of the first half, making the viewer feeling let down. Though Milan Lutharia impresses with his direction, he is let down by a weak script. The highlight of the film is its action. Like Lutharia's earlier films, 'Baadshaho ' also has lots of stylish action sequences. The cinematography by Sunita Radia is brilliant with some of the sequences captured in the Rajasthan desert coming across as spectacular.
The music is also above average with songs like 'Mere Rashke Qamar' sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan leave you mesmerised. In terms of performances, Ajay Devgn is brilliant as Bhawani. Like in earlier films by Lutharia, Ajay bowls you over with his sheer intensity. He is one of the mainstays of the film. Emraan too comes up with an ace act as Dalia. He seems perfect for the part. Ileana does a fine job as the Maharani Geetanjali.
After 'Rustom', she essays the 'damsel-in-distress' act quite well. Esha Gupta and Vidyut Jamaal, however, fail to impress. Sanjay Misra has done a good job as Tills though he is not at his best. 'Baadshaho ' is a stylish action thriller that is marred by a poor script . Rating: 3/5: one for performances by Ajay and Emraan, one for direction and stylish action, 0.5 for cinematography and 0.5 for music. (UNI)