Film: Romeo Akbar Walter
Director: Robbie Grewal
Cast: John Abraham, Jackie Shroff, Mouni Roy
Rating: 2 1/2
In 1971 Pakistan had two parts of land around India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan now known as Bangladesh. But before that, the small land was asking for its own existence in terms of freedom. India who was the neighboring country to both lands was in favour of Bangladesh’s freedom. And because we belonged right between the two, the war began right here. John Abraham‘s ‘RAW’ based in 1971, is dedicated to all those brave men and soldiers who lay their lives for the country despite knowing that no other living soul would know of their bravery and sacrifice.
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) head by Shrikant Rai aka Jackie Shroff is looking for a man who would be able to become a part of the crowd easily, someone who could disguise himself into anyone around. Who they do find instead is a man who disguises himself as an age-old poet once on stage for a few seconds in the 144 minutes long movie. The regular bank clerk who saves the bank from a fake robbery becomes a ready RAW agent with few weeks of training.
Romeo gets trained to become Akbar Malik- the man who lives in Pakistan and loves the country enough to give his life for it, (which he will pretend to for nearly 10 years and counting).
John Abraham as Romeo Akbar Walter is not easy to watch, the slow and strong screen presence has you waiting for him to either say a punch line or throw a punch but it never comes. You would expect RAW to be an action-packed film as much as the trailer suggested, but the film is more of a drama web series that documents events one after the other, throwing in unnecessary emotional, romantic and climax more than it is required.
Mouni Roy as Shraddha Sharma is a hard miss, the character and actress has been brought down to the level of side heroine in every 90’s movie. The one woman who is smart wise and good looking, but never gets to use the first two talents. She only proves to be the love interest who gets a single romantic scene in the film. Jackie Shroff as Shrikant Rai takes the win in RAW, his character is the only one that fits in the most, while the others struggle to keep up.
The film is supposedly a one-man army who never throws a punch and saves the country numerous times. The strong narrative dips down with a bland script and a slow screenplay, enough that after every big reveal in the film, actors sit around talking about what they just did, what it means and how it’s going to change everything. Between all the patriotic films in and out of the theatre, the content quality seems to be dropping and so has the effort.
Verdict: Romeo Akhbar Walter needs a new identity, which will have to be more than just changes in the length of his beard.