Akshay Kumar in ‘Gabbar Is Back’ plays to the gallery and therefore, effortlessly gets the audience to cheer and whistle for him. They get their bang for the buck – typical Bollywood-style masala dialogues, full-on action and a superfluous item number thrown in to cater to our mass audience.
The problem is not that it follows the tried and tested formula, what is worrisome is the brutal means our hero resorts to in his attempt to eradicate corruption. Yes, there is a half-hearted attempt to deride the use of violence in the last scene but it is too little, too late.
What’s also annoying is the dispensable roles the women have in this film – Kareena’s pointless cameo, Chitrangada’s uninspired item song and a inconsequential romantic track with Shruti Hassan. These heroines contribute zilch to the narrative. They are mere distractions, in fact, without them we could have had a taut storyline that wouldn’t slacken the pace of the film.
It is the likes of actors like Jaideep Ahlawat and Sunil Grover who hold the film together. Jaideep Ahlawat sinks his teeth into the role of a top cop.
In some parts you are almost reminded of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s class act in ‘Kahaani’ but then Ahlawat sometimes goes a little overboard – alas, he is saddled by a script that demands it.
Grover is a surprise package – having always seen him as the funny man on television, it is indeed heartwarming to see him belt out a solid performance as a frustrated constable, desperately trying to prove his mettle. Here too, the script plays spoilsport – his transformation to a Gabbar sympathizer is most abrupt.
Akshay Kumar is apt for this role – there’s nothing here that he hasn’t done before. He is most effective in the parts where the dialoguebaazi is restrained and we can watch his precise maneuvers on his opponents.
‘Gabbar Is Back’ is not a complete waste of time, it is just a very problematic film.
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