There’s a vigilante on the loose who likes swooping upon the dirty and the corrupt and putting the spotlight on them. That, in one thin line, is the plot of the latest Akshay Kumar’s ‘Gabbar is Back’, in which he stars In and As a latter-day Gabbar, the Good Bad Guy Who Is Out To Fix The System.
Being the ‘hero’ of such an enterprise gives Akshay has room to do everything he’s done before, and not one thing new. He kicks and punches and pummels and roars, fronting a name that is a throwback to one of Bollywood’s most enduring baddies. There’s more: he locks a door, turns around and wades into the villains. Now where did we see that one before?
The trouble with this remake of a Tamil actioner is the trouble most such products are beset with: same strange lost-in-transmission flavor which doesn’t transfer, mustachioed bad guys who look as if they’ve showed up from a different set, a leading lady who pops up for comic relief, and dialogues delivered at a decibel that threaten to damage your ear drums.
The only difference that Akshay Kumar offers is a change in hairstyle–wavy, full. In the rest, he goes about buoying the silly, senseless script as much as he can, executing questionable acts with a tossed-off comment : ‘but Gabbar is a criminal!’ To which we are supposed to say, no, no, of course not, Gabbar is a fine, fine person driven to these lengths because of `circumstances’, full `filmi’ style.
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Well, that schtick got cold. And old. So has the leading man, whose age shows up clearly, especially when he has to romance someone as young as Shruti Haasan, whose coloured tresses are much more eye-catching than her emoting. In a tiny cameo, Kareena Kapoor shows how to do the required jiggle-wiggle: everything done with practiced ease, there one minute, gone the next. And is this what Chitrangada Singh has come to– this rancid wince-making item number bump-and-grind?
Supporting acts Jaideep Ahlawat (upright cop made to stride and narrow his eyes minus impact) and Sunil Grover (constable-who-has-more-brains-than-his-superiors) get some screen time, which is more than you can say for most Akshay starrers. But despite this ‘sharing’, ‘Gabbar Is Back’ shows up severe limitations all around, of the juiced-out South -‘masala’-genre, and of the star still clinging on to these vehicles, who gets no chance to put into his part any of the twinkle he is capable of.
I’ve said this several times, but I’m ready to implore again: can Bollywood please, please stop making these tired, tiresome remakes? And let sleeping Gabbars lie?
One and half star
Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Shruti Haasan, Suman Talwar, Jaideep Ahlawat, Sunil Grover, Ishita Vyas
Director : Krish