Review: Ahishor Solomon’s Wild Dog is based on true incidents of bombings that rocked the country in mid-2000s. Backed by facts with a touch of cinematic liberty, the film explores the aftermath of these heinous incidents. Thankfully devoid of melodrama or over-the-top action sequences, it is the cast that keeps you hooked.
Vijay Varma (Nagarjuna) is called a ‘wild dog’ by the authorities because all his missions ensure the perpetrators end up dead. Moved to a desk job after conducting one too many encounters, he’s soon called back to duty on field after a bombing takes place in Pune. He and his wife Priya (Dia Mirza) are also mourning a heart-breaking personal loss, lending him further motive to pursue Kalid Batkal (Bilal Hossein), the man behind these bombings. However, what motivates Vijay to pursue Khalid across the country and even to Nepal is not personal loss, but the safety of this country.
Ahishor Solomon wastes no time in getting into the thick of things. Even as a woman screams as she’s seared due to a blast or a death is discussed over lunch, the director doesn’t let the narrative dwell on the emotions that bubble underneath the surface of this story. Much like Vijay Varma’s character, who prefers to keep it professional and stick to work, with his character almost bordering on cold, the film’s proceedings keep things clinical.
The stakes keep getting higher as the film progresses but as a viewer, one does not fully grasp the implications of what could happen should this mission fail. Yes, we are shown a taste of how the bombings could continue should Khalid not be caught, but in a fast-paced narrative, there’s less time to focus on the emotional implication of it all. Which is why when an encounter specialist like Vijay Varma decides to not use his gun for the first time in his career, the punch doesn’t land.
Nagarjuna aces the role of Vijay Varma with élan, seeming at ease in the skin of the character. Dia Mirza gets a chance to shine despite her limited screen time. Saiyami Kher, Ali Reza, Atul Kulkarni, Prakash Sundaran, Mayank Parakh and others also pull off their roles well. Saiyami, Ali and and Mayank in particular seem to have a ball with their roles and stand out. The team of Wild Dog has put in effort to ensure the film remains as realistic as possible, even when it comes to their body language, and it shows on-screen.
Thaman S excels at providing BGM and he does a good job of providing a score for the film that ably supports but doesn’t overshadow the proceedings. Shaneil Deo’s camerawork features tight shots on actors and wide frames during action sequences, lending a moody vibe to the film. Kiran Kumar’s simplistic dialogues get overtly explanatory at times, with actors muttering lines like, “Sh*t, he’s really smart,” or “Something is really wrong,” when they are things that could be left unsaid. David Ismalone and Sham Kaushal also do a good job with the stunts, keeping things realistic, barring a particular action sequence in Nepal featuring Saiyami and Nagarjuna.
Wild Dog is a simple story that doesn’t veer much beyond the tale of a team looking to nab a terrorist. Ahishor Solomon must be lauded for attempting to make an action film that’s devoid of any commercial elements. However, he also doesn’t move beyond telling a story that lacks an emotional hook. Watch this one this weekend if action dramas are your cup of tea.