Prathighat - A Revenge, the dubbed version of the Telugu hit, Vikramarkudu, has been seen a number of times in the past 2 years on the satellite channels. It was only a matter of time, before this 2006 runaway hit, directed by S.S. Rajamouli, the award winning director of Magadheera, was remade into Hindi, following the trend of the past few years.
So we have UTV & Sanjay Leela Bhansali coming together to present, Prabhudeva’s Rowdy Rathore. The film stays true to its original script and style of narration, even attempting to keep the action sequences similar to that of the originals.
The major difference being, unlike the Tamil version, where the villains were inspired by Lord of the Rings’ type of characters in flowing robes, here the villains are more rustic, keeping in mind that they are from Bihar, in order to gain a national appeal, I guess.
So you have Shiva (Akshay Kumar) and 2G (Pravin Ganatra), 2 small time crooks, living in a house full of stolen furniture, from post boxes to BMC benches etc. While Shiva falls in love with Paro (Sonakshi Sinha), he is confronted with a sudden twist in the tale, when a young girl approaches him as her father. This leads to a series of events which finally culminate into Shiva realising that he is in custody of Chinky, daughter of Asst. Superintendent of Police, Vikram Rathore (Akshay Kumar), a daredevil officer, being hunted by Baapji (Nasseer) and his goons, headed by his fearsome brother, Titla (Surpreeth).
The first half of the film, reminds one of the 1990 movies of David Dhawan and nowadays Mahesh Bhatt, wherein the film’s plot begins on a serious note, involving intrigue and post the first 15 minutes, the film moves around aimlessly into showcasing the lead actor’s talent and the heroine’s assets, somehow finding their way into the main plot, which by now has become a sub-plot and 2 become 1! Aankhen, Paap etc.
The film has its share of flaws, amongst many. The story line being the big drawback here. The screenplay, pre and post interval seem to have been written by 2 different set of writers, not very favourable for Shiraz Ahmed, credited with the screenplay. The film moves around from one song to another in the first half, making one feel nothing but pain at this attempt by Akshay in a genre, now owned by Salman and successfully copied by Ajay Devgn.
It is the pre interval action sequence, wherein you feel that the story has moved around 5% and there is a thrill factor coming in, with the actual advent of Vikram Rathore coming face to face with the mercenaries, his team of officers and Shiva!
The romance between Shiva and Paro, convenient to a very great extent, a girl from Bihar accepting a Mumbai con’s proposal, just because he was honest to her in admitting that he is a small time criminal! Similarly, the erstwhile ruthless Titla and Bapuji seem to reduce to mere caricatures post the arrival of Shiva into Devgarh. Paro was supposed to be an inhabitant of Patna, but the careless manner in which she roams around the valleys of Devgarh, speak volumes about the law and order in the state!
Post interval, somehow it seems Prabhudeva actually got it right. The film actually progresses in terms of a story and the leaves you in shock and awe at the sequence of events, one after another. It is as if you have walked right out of the Burj into the sandstorm of Mission Impossible 4!
Prabhudeva as a director has his signature song number in the beginning wherein he gets his ‘celebrity guests’ to shake a leg. Like Anil Kapoor and Govinda in the Jalwa song in Wanted, the Chinta ta song has south star Vijay and Kareena Kapoor doing the honours. The comedy in the first half, though silly at many a places, does tend to bring a smile on your face. Pravin Ganatra takes the cake in his comic timing and has the maximum screen time after Akshay. In the second half, Prabhu starts the roller coaster ride wherein the film spans only 5 days in real time. The action sequences and the entry of Shiva as Rathore in Devgarh, his interactions with Baapji are all whistle blowing sequences of the ‘80s revisited. Kudos to him for that.
The background score by Sandeep Chowta is good. Music by Sajid – Wajid is already doing well. One does get to hear Kumar Sanu, attempting to make a comeback of sorts. But it is the post interval songs of Pritam Pyaare and Dhadang Dhang, which leave the audiences asking for more. Mumait Khan proves yet again that there was a reason why Dekh le from Munnabhai, almost a decade ago is still a rage. Her energy levels leave the other 2 item dancers, Shakti Mohan and the girl from Agent Vinod seem like mere extras!
Sonakshi looks voluptuous, sensuous and awkward at times. But barring that, she hardly gets to ‘perform’ in the first half besides swaying her hips and exposing her midriff. Post interval she does get some scope and does complete justice to that especially in the climax.
Nasser is ruthlessness personified. Surpreeth’s character of Titla seems inspired by Kumbhakaran, who comes to Raavan’s aid, whenever the latter is in trouble, but seems less menacing than Ajay, who enacted the role in the original Telugu flick. Yashpal Sharma does a decent job, whilst Arun Jog seems to have walked right out of Singham’s sets. Darshan Jariwala is a waste.
Coming to Akshay. This film is his acid test. Can he do what Aamir, Salman and Ajay have managed to do in the past couple of years? Cross the 100crore figure for a solo film! For that, he has to have a 50cr opening weekend and from the number of shows that the film has opened with, although late, it seems just possible.
Akshay is used to playing the slapstick comedy characters in his sleep now and he does that yet again. It is his persona of Inspector Vikram Rathore which gets the audience going. Post interval, one gets to see shades the Akshay, who actually made an effort to do something different in his films. His dialogues, his action all draw not only claps but whistles too from the audience and that’s what leaves an impact, although momentarily for one in the film.
Rowdy is not a bad film. It is a complete masala entertainer. It has solid action, comedy, romance, decent acting and lots and lots of star power, presenting the hero of the 80s, never defeated, never humble, ALWAYS LARGER THAN LIFE!
YusuF Poonawala is an independent writer who authors The Y Factor , a blog where he reviews movies, English and Hindi.