After tasting success with a hardcore masala entertainer like ‘Rowdy Rathore’ producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali joins hands with leading man Akshay Kumar for ‘Gabbar Is Back’. ‘Gabbar Is Back’ is the remake of the 13 year old Tamil film ‘Ramanna’. While the original was helmed by A.R Murugadoss, the Hindi remake has been directed by South director Krish. Corruption is a burning issue in the country and several films have been made on this subject. Some films depicted the issue realistically while some wore the garb of commercial entertainers. ‘Gabbar Is Back’ seems to belong to the second category.
The opening credits give us a glimpse of Gabbar, a vigilante who knocks off corrupt officials without blinking an eyelid. We are soon introduced to Aditya (Akshay Kumar) a professor loved and admired by his students. When he is not busy teaching his students, he works with them and guides them as they kidnap crooked officers. After the wrongdoers are brought at his disposal, Gabbar kills them and hangs them in public places. He even records his message in CDs and distributes them across the city. Aditya comes across (Shruti Haasan) and friendship brews between them. Shruti meets with a minor accident after which Aditya takes her to a hospital. Aditya smells something fishy when the doctor charges an exorbitant amount from Shruti as fees for a minor accident. Then, he overhears the conversation between a doctor and a nurse which leads him to believe that there are several unscrupulous practices going on in the hospital. Aditya decides to teach the doctors a lesson they would put an end to these activities. Meanwhile, a series of events force industrialist Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar) to come back to India. Aditya does something that invites the wrath of Digvijay and he instructs his men to find him and bring to him so that he can kill Aditya himself.
The film addresses the issue of corruption but does not offer much that one has not seen in films earlier. The initial reels of the first half serve some predictable scenes that are sporadically entertaining. While Aditya/Gabbar always comes across as a man with a plan, the fact that he moves around without any defense and yet, manages to conceal his identity for long does not seem very believable. Shruti helps a woman deliver her baby with the help of Google. She does so even when she is not seen to be carrying a bag and there is no surgical instrument in sight. There is a certain overconfidence about the character which has not been justified well by the writers. The ease with which he enters Digvijay’s house seems too farfetched. There is a scene in which he gives Digvijay the opportunity to call for help. While the corrupt minister’s resistance is understandable, what made Gabbar believe that the Police would support when they were after him all this while?
The hospital sequence, that takes place towards the end of the first half, is one of the highlights of the film. The way Aditya teaches the doctors and the staff a lesson is very interesting. The showdown that follows after that is entertaining as well. The film gathers momentum in the second half with different events taking place in quick succession. Things get exciting with Constable Sadhu (Sunil Grover) teaming up with CBI officer Kuldeep Pahwa (Jaideep Ahlawat). The second half is entertaining for most parts. However, there are a few glitches here as well. Aditya’s back story which reveals the reason behind him turning into a vigilante could have been more elaborate. It would have nice if the makers had developed the character of Aditya’ wife (Kareena Kapoor Khan) a little better and written some scenes revolving around the romance between the two characters. Putting too many things in one song (“Teri Meri Kahaani”) does not seem like the wisest decision. The face-off between Gabbar and Digviijay could have been a lot more interesting.
Akshay Kumar does a splendid job portraying Aditya and Gabbar. The character could have more interesting if there were some contrasting qualities between Aditya and Gabbar. Though Aditya scares the daylights out of corrupt officials as Gabbar, there is not much difference between the two. Though Shruti Haasan gets sidelined in some important portions, she makes her presence felt by offering some light moments in the serious narrative. She is very good in the dramatic sequences as well. After playing various comic roles on television, Sunil Grover gets to play a fairly serious role and does complete justice to it. One hopes that this talented actor gets to play a variety of roles in the future. Suman Talwar is good but overplays a few scenes. Jaideep Ahlawat is dependable as always. Kareena Kapoor Khan looks ravishing in the song “Teri Meri Kahaani”.
Krish’s direction is good but he takes a lot of creative liberties. While certain scenes required elaborate detailing, a few sequences do not seem very convincing. Rajat Aroraa does a good job at adapting the original screenplay, written by A. R Murugadoss, and tweaking it so that it caters to sensibilities of the pan India audience. However, certain portions could have been written better. He scores with the dialogues. There is a good balance of realistic as well as clap trap lines. The music is a mixed bag. “Teri Meri Kahaani” and “Coffeey Peete Peete” (Chirantan Bhatt) are catchy and have been shot well. “Aao Raja” (Yo Yo Honey Singh) and “Warna Gabbar Aa Jayega” are forgettable. The background score (Amar Mohile) is routine. Nirav Shah’s camerawork is sufficiently good.
Though ‘Gabbar Is Back’ does not offer too much novelty with the subject it deals in, it still emerges as a good entertainer. The film is not devoid of shortcomings but has its share of high points as well. Do not look for anything extraordinary and you will not be disappointed. On the whole, the film turns out to be a fun, escapist entertainer.
Anish Mohanty tweets @anishmohanty