The Nod and Wink Hero

You take ‘Rowdy’ and look for a word that sounds good with it. What about ‘Rathore’? All right

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: June 2, 2012 1:48 am

Rowdy Rathore

DIRECTOR: Prabhudeva

CAST: Akshay Kumar,Sonakshi Sinha,Nasser,Yashpal Sharma

Rating: **

You take ‘Rowdy’ and look for a word that sounds good with it. What about ‘Rathore’? All right. You take the masala films made in the ’70s and ’80s. Borrow liberally. Patch together a plot,or whatever passes for it. Rope in a star looking for a solo hit. And you get,all together now,Rowdy Rathore.

We don’t have to be told that this is a remake of a Telugu film. It could have been in mainstream Tamil,or Kannada. Because whether it is Priyadarshan or Prabhudeva (who has directed this one),the film is bound to have South Indian actors trying to pass off as North Indian. Fictional towns which look as if they’ve been created on a set. Blinding colours. Songs at the drop of a hat. Dialogues which don’t go beyond a line. Or two. And a leading lady whose job description is,apart from possessing a swaying kamariya…um,let me think about it.

Story-wise,a wafer would be thinner. Conman Shiva (Kumar) does this and that and bumps into Paro (Sinha). He also manages to acquire,quite by accident,a little daughter who clutches a walkman (how retro,ya) and a doll,and calls him “papa”. Turns out that Shiva has a hum-shakal who goes by the name of Vikram Rathore (Kumar; yes,it is a double),who is a tough cop hell-bent upon cleaning up a town called Devgarh.

No,it’s not Ramgarh. But could well have been. Because Nasser plays a dhoti-clad baddie who terrorises all the gaon walas,and whose goons play hide and seek with the good guys in very Sholay like ravines. Bits of Sholay,bits of the revenge dramas we’ve seen and forgotten over the years,and,of course,bits of Dabangg. No one can play a tough cop with a mooch all set to rid a village of corrupt zamindars and darogas,and not remind us of Salman Khan’s huge 2010 hit.

Rowdy Rathore is Akshay’s stab at getting back at the top of the heap. And it must be said that he goes at his double role (only the curve of the ‘tache distinguishing one from the other) with very Akki-like zest,kicking and slicing and punching. He does look much older than his leading lady,who is busy getting the full-bodied heroine back into the frame,if nothing else. But that’s all right,because she comes and goes anyway,disappearing almost completely in the ultra-violent,crass second half before fetching up dutifully for the climax.

Akshay’s still got it,no doubt about it,especially when he lightens the tone,with a wink and a nod. He’s the reason you sit through this. But he’ll have to look for another film to get where he wants to.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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