Cast: Akshay Kumar, Shruti Hassan, Kareena Kapoor, Chitrangada Singh
Rating: * *
It’s Akshay Kumar’s #JaiHo and just as silly, unbelievable and inconsequential in premise and action. Plying it straight as a brand war between a vengeance seeking social transformer and savvy entrepreneur villain, the ensuing action regurgitates formulaic set-ups and stereotypes with all the self-righteousness and superciliousness typical of mainstream Bollywood.
‘Gabbar is Back’ is a film in which Akshay Kumar attempts to go one-up on Salman. And I say this because the film is more or less similar to Salman Khan’s most recent dud ‘Jai Ho,’ albeit a slicker, more integrated version of it. It’s another matter that the film makers’ officially claim this to be a remake of a Murgadoss’ telugu hit ‘Ramanna’ from way back in 2003 and lets not forget that Salman’s ‘Jai Ho’ was also a remake of a different south film. So in essence dimwit filmmakers are basically regurgitating the same dumb stories with a twist here and there to stake a fake claim for originality.
That said, there’s little to like about this actioner that feels stale and almost a decade out of date. The filmmakers might have found currency in the anti-corruption sermonizing – coinciding it with last year’s much publicized NAC crusade but they forgot that by the time the film saw the light of the theatres, the audiences’ passion for that social transformation would be dimmed and daunted. And to have to see Akshay Kumar trying to justify screeching and specifying with anti-corruption messaging designed as a brand war between almost evil and pure evil stretches the limits of credibility.
Akshay is good as an action hero who uses his brawn to suit his agenda but when idealism is asked of him, it doesn’t bore well for the audience. As a cape-less crusader with an alter-ego that instills fear in the corrupt, Akshay Kumar as Professor Aditya nee Gabbar appears like he is role playing and without much conviction. It feels in fact like ‘Rowdy Rathod’ in swank new (Ill-fitting though) clothes.
Prof Aditya teaches at National College a heaven of upright, incorruptible citizens who go out into the world and live their lives with the steely determination to eschew away from corruption. But those around them don’t follow the same ideals. So Aditya dons an alter-ego Gabbar and sets out to right the wrongs of this world. But there’s revenge also as a motive. We get to know about that midway through the film when we learn of the sad demise of his pregnant wife (Kareena Kapoor looking lovely) in a building collapse. So the Digvijay Patil versus Gabbar confrontation has a back story in which Aditya was left for dead, rescued and refurbished -to start off a new life. This time with a new heroine (a shrill and unnaturally animated Shruti Hassan) in tow and a resolve set in stone!
The preachy overtones, the conscious sermonizing, silly antics, unbelievable action stunts, confounding logic in the sequence of events and Kumar’s staccato dialogue delivery don’t allow for much enjoyment here. Standard Stereotypes ,clichés, formulaic elements make it that much more difficult to make sense of. Director Krish and his editor manage to make it slick but the disjointedness and incoherence doesn’t stay hidden for long. Watch it only if you are a die-hard Akshay Kumar fan!