Genius movie cast: Utkarsh Sharma, Ishita Chauhan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mithun Chakraborty, Zakir Hussain, Abhimanyu Singh, Ayesha Jhulka
Genius movie director: Anil Sharma
Genius movie rating: Nil
A young idealistic techie turned RAW agent goes up against a wily ISI agent, and then. In veteran filmmaker Anil Sharma’s universe, it is a given that the Indian will win. He’s the guy who made Gadar and Hukumat and Elaan-e-Jung, remember?
Genius is Sharma’s son’s debut feature. In the film, which comes from an old-time masala filmmaker who coated everything with a thick layer of loud, shouty patriotism, Utkarsh gets to do what heroes of the 70s and 80s build their careers on: a bit of everything – comedy, romance, action and song-and-dance. While, of course, saving his country.
No harm in rejigging masala, but not if your style is mothballed. And not if the lead comes off strictly average, punching so high above his weight, that you end up feeling sorry for him. In 2018, this film feels redundant, and in too many places, downright problematic.
Vasudev Shastri, an orphan from Mathura, is a genius who shows up at a top-flight tech institute, and falls into full stalkery mode as soon as he spies pretty co-student Nandini (Chauhan). This bunch, like in the bad old days, is never to be seen inside a classroom, swanning around outside instead, engaging in mind-numbing activities a true-blue IITian would faint at.
We get to hear how the Vedas were fully scientific, stopping just short of making the kind of connections between hard science and nonsense that non-scientists have been throwing out at us in the past few years. Rocket science? Why, just read the `shastras’.
The student-turned-spy has such high IQ that a roomful of agents wait, breathlessly, as he fends off a ‘badaa cyber attack’ in response to a panicky superior’s command, ‘binary code ko break karo!’. And when the interval happens, these words appear: ‘Genius begins’. Nope, not kidding.
When Nawazuddin shows up as the bad guy in black, armed with a hat and a gun, you think ah, some relief at last. Alas, the uber talented Nawaz is reduced to striking poses, and, in about the only moment that you can take away, shakes his waist, throws out his arms, and gets on to the dance floor. In the rest, he growls and grimaces.
So do you.