Wild Dog review: This Nagarjuna film fails to hit the bull’s eye

screenmixApril 2, 2021

Wild Dog movie star cast: Nagarjuna Akkineni, Saiyami Kher, Atul Kulkarni
Wild Dog movie director: Ashishor Solomon
Wild Dog movie ratings: 2.5 stars

Debutant director Ashishor Solomon’s Wild Dog is based on a real-life covert operation conducted by the National Investigation Agency. While the term ‘surgical strike’ has now become part of our vocabulary, this film introduces us to India’s guerrilla warfare against its most-wanted terrorists.

NIA officer Vijay Varma (Nagarjuna) finds out the whereabouts of India’s most-wanted terrorist Khalid Bhatkal. He informs his superior that Khalid is planning something big and he needs to be stopped now. Khalid is in Nepal, and Vijay pitches a cross-border operation. Vijay even gives the example of Israel, which supposedly uses guerrilla tactics to end security threats against its country. Vijay says something like, “When Israel could do it, why can’t India?”

The indecisiveness of the government fails to prevent another terror attack and a series of bomb blasts rocks Hyderabad. “Don’t be a coward,” Vijay tells Atul Kulkarni’s DGP Hemanth, as he feels frustrated with the system that hesitates when making hard decisions. “I am not a coward. It is this system,” Hemanth replies.

“That doesn’t make us any less guilty,” Vijay argues.

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Vijay decides to outmanoeuvre the official procedure. He and his team of boys decide to head to Kathmandu under secrecy, arrest Khalid and bring him back to face the law in India. This much we already know from the trailer. So what more does Wild Dog offer?

Cinematically, this film is average at best. More or less it feels like a television film. Perhaps, the budget cuts and the restrictions to shoot the film during the coronavirus pandemic could be the reasons for its iffy production values. Nonetheless, the film visually fails to make an impression on the big screen. Shaneil Deo’s cinematography is a bit rough and has very little artistic value. The scenes of bomb explosions and the ensuing gunfights in the jungles look dated. It lacks the sharpness of the action sequences that we are treated to in the opening moments when Vijay and his team hunt down the terrorists in bustling streets.

However, Solomon’s writing is the saving grace of the film. His no-frills approach works but only to an extent. This is not the thriller that we expected.