A Film For Fortune Seekers | Movie Review of Bazaar (2018)

A small town boy from Allahabad moves to Mumbai to seek his fortune. It’s a formulaic plot line that is reminiscent of real life. Rizwan Ahmed, the protagonist of the movie, meets a girl. Her name is Priya Rai and she initiates him into the world of commerce. With some clever strategic manoeuvring, Rizwan is led into believing that he has landed a job with his business idol Shakun Kothari. One by one, his dreams of the high life come true–or so it seems. Rizwan thinks he’s played the game right… Until he realises that the game has played him.

Shakun Kothari is a businessman who is willing to do anything to make money. All he understands, he understands through the lens of profit and power. A self-righteous schmuck, Shakun displays unlawful, unethical and disgusting conduct throughout the movie. He is not a man to be trusted; and yet, he is idealised by all the small town boys who dream of making it big.

As the movie drags on, it becomes quite obvious that all the players are equally fraudulent in the way that they are playing the game. The only difference is that some of the players are kings, while others are mere pawns. But they’re all equally dishonest and dirty–from the small town boy to the business mogul.

In this game, in this rat race, it is all about survival. And everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead–regardless of whether they’re the underdog or the top dog. The truth of the matter is that you cannot even enter the game, let alone play the game, unless you are willing to cross the line in the first place.

No one actually cares or stops to think about who they ruin, who they throw under the bus or which law they break. We even find out later on that Priya–the woman who initiates Rizwan into the world of commerce–had set him a well thought out trap. She, herself, had been planted there by Shakun to find fresh blood to join the game. Rizwan is, of course, shocked when he finds out how corrupted to the core his business idol is.

“I will destroy you, Shakun Kothari,” Rizwan proclaims to the man he idolised but never knew. “You and your business are over.”

I sniggered when I heard him utter those words. The stark truth of the game is that you cannot implicate another player without implicating yourself for there are no ‘good guys’ and everyone is equally guilty.

Rizwan’s conduct isn’t blameless. He indulges in insider trading to get ahead and to get his family ahead. When Rizwan later realises that he, himself, has been played; he has no one to blame but himself because he crossed a line he never should have crossed. If he had never allowed himself to break the rules in the first place, he never would have landed his ‘dream job’ with his business idol.

To implicate Shakun, Rizwan will essentially have to implicate both himself and his girlfriend Priya. That is the only way to solve the predicament they got themselves into.

In the end, the missing puzzle piece for Rizwan to implicate Shakun comes from none other than his long-suffering and silenced wife. She is, for all intents and purposes, nothing but a trophy wife, for Shakun is a womaniser and a philanderer. Rizwan heads over to speak with Shakun’s wife–blaming her for allowing her husband to get so out of hand. As the mother of two young daughters, she falls for the bait and chooses to implicate her own husband.

At the end, Shakun is arrested… For a while, anyway. He is quickly released on bail to find an empty house without his wife and kids. Shakun’s wife finally found the courage to leave him and stop living a lie. You could even say that she was the only one who found the courage to stop playing the game.

As for the rest of the players, let’s just say… They can never opt out of the game. For they are the ones who have created this game. And even if they lose everything — their families, their money, their reputation and even their sanity — they will just keep on playing.

But are they playing to win? If the answer was yes, then perhaps they all wouldn’t be such big losers.

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