By Tanmay Bhat
THE FIRST half of Rowdy Rathore traces the circumstances of a small-time conman Shiva (Kumar) falling for a small town girl, Paro (Sinha). Kumar plays the conman to the T, as by the time the first half ended, I already wanted my money back. Things take a dramatic turn as a young girl keeps mistaking him for her father; a random stranger thinks he’s his brother, and goons from nowhere are all of a sudden thirsty for his blood. Shiva gets to the bottom of this when he meets his alter ego, good cop Rathore and witnesses his death. In a bid to wreak revenge, Shiva hands the goons the worst punishment ever: punches in super slow motion.
The problem with getting your lead to play two different characters is that it falls flat when neither has distinguishing characteristics, barring a moustache. Nonetheless, Akshay seems to enjoy himself playing both Rowdy and Rathore while Sonakshi plays the role of Doesn’t and Matter quite excellently. What’s the decision-making process for our actresses? This is how I think the script narration went: Sonakshi Sinha: So what’s my role in this film? Prabhu Deva: So basically in this movie you’re a… Sonakshi Sinha: I’ll do it! Although, the film does tackle their romance pretty aesthetically. It is only when Akshay pinches Sonakshi’s midriff a couple of times and refers to her as “meri maal” do we wonder if the script was based on a Mills & Boon, Bhojpuri edition.
Prabhu Deva’s second Bollywood outing isn’t as much fun as the first, Wanted. Then again Salman Khan could make a four-hour documentary about the handicrafts industry run by kids in Balochistan fun. Kumar needs more of script, and Deva couldn’t deliver, which makes this movie about two and a half hours too long. Despite the lacklustre screenplay, annoying set pieces, Rowdy Rathore does cement Akshay Kumar as the market leader in employing choreographers who want to direct bad scripts (remember Tees Maar Khan?).
The film proves that not all movies that make Rs 100 crore are good. A growing trend among Indian audiences is that we’re doing that thing where we appreciate cinematic rubbish because “Yaar, it’s very ’80s, masala entertainer, total timepass”. A piece of advice: if you want to relive the ’80s, buy a DVD.
Tanmay Bhat Is A Stand-Up Comic