Movie Review: ‘Rowdy Rathore’ hits you hard!

Shomini Sen

Years back, Akshay Kumar had brought to Indian cinema some death-defying stunts. The actor who was then called an action star, starred in some hard core masala action flicks (the Khiladi series) which gave him the title of an action movie star. Critics wrote him off as a non actor who could only jump off high-rise buildings. In the last one decade, Akshay starred in some memorable films, including some rib-tickling comedies which not only catapulted him to a superstar status but also made many sit up and notice his acting capabilities. But somewhere, those death-defying stunts, those hard core action scenes were missed by his fans.

`Rowdy Rathore` was supposed to be Akshay`s comeback film as an action star. Yes, the action is there and in huge dollops. But, it somehow lacks the punch of Khiladi Kumar.

Prabhu Deva had `dared` to remake a hard core masala film from down south in 2009. `Wanted` went on to become a super hit and re-established Salman Khan`s career. It also started a trend for many in the Hindi film industry to remake South Indian films, most of which were lapped up by the audience. A remake of ‘Vikramarkudu’, `Rowdy Rathore` from the first frame is garishly loud. Prabhu Deva borrows heavily from the original and forgets that Akshay Kumar`s style is somewhat different.

The story has potential. The local mafia of Devgarh, Baapji (Nasser) and his men believe that they have killed the righteous cop of the area, Vikram Singh Rathore, in full public view. Things take a turn tricky for them when news of Rathore being alive starts doing the rounds. Baapji sends his thugs to Mumbai where Rathore is said to be living with his daughter. Meanwhile Shiva, a small time conman, decides to leave his `profession` for his love’s (Sonakshi) sake. Things seem rosy for the two till Rathore`s daughter mistakes Shiva as her father and starts living with him. Confusion ensues further when Devgarh goons mistake Shiva for Rathore and are hell-bent on killing him.

The premise of the film may be good, but the treatment is that of a typical south Indian pot boiler. No harm in that either, just that most of the scenes lack logic. The violence is gory and in some places cringe-worthy.

Akshay tries, tries hard, to fit into a genre which is at the moment a formula for success. But the man, who has given us some extremely entertaining films in the past, gets lost in the slow pace of the film and the southern sensibilities of the director. Sure, his signature flamboyance is there. Some extremely hilarious scenes, which are Kumar`s patent, are there too, but they are too few and far in between. The film takes too long to establish the main plot and too little time to establish the love story between Sonakshi and Akshay which nearly happens in the first half hour of the film.

Just when you start giving up on the film, Akshay Kumar gives you some hope with his funny antics and witty dialogues in the later part of the second half.

Sonakshi fails to make any sort of mark in her second outing after a fabulous debut in ‘Dabangg’. Not her fault, considering the story gives her very little scope to do anything other than show her somewhat flabby waist and dance boisterously to the tunes of Sajid-Wajid.

Prabhu Deva fails to take the film anywhere, uses a tried and tested formula which may have worked down south but sadly is extremely annoying and garish when remade in Hindi. Watch it for Akshay if you must. But don’t expect his usual antics, they are clearly not there.

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