Has Bang Bang created an exciting Hindi film out of a mediocre movie from America? The answer is a resounding no. Film posters for Bang Bang seemed more like a mashup of action films Blue and Kites, than for a legitimate remake of the Hollywood flick Knight and Day. With superstars Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif leading the cast of this big budget film, thrilling stunts, electric dance moves and plenty of sex-appeal were high on the list of expectations. But the film barely delivers on its promises and becomes little more than a hodgepodge of clichés and utter nonsense.
Kaif plays Harleen, a shy bank employee who resides in Shimla with her young-at-heart grandmother. Fearing she’s on the path to spinsterhood and feeling pressure from grandmother to have an exciting romantic life, Harleen joins an online dating site. While waiting for her date at a restaurant, she catches the attention of Rajveer (Hrithik Roshan) who is mesmerized by her beauty and pretends to be the potential mate she has selected. Looking for an exciting romance, Harleen is unaware that Rajveer is in fact a jet-setting thief who has recently stolen the legendary Kohinoor diamond. Soon enough, both Rajveer and Harleen are on the run from uber-villian Omar Zafar (Danny Denzongpa) who wants the famed gem in his possession.
Bang Bang impresses in a few parts, such as an action sequence set atop staggered structures in the Shimla hills, which provides a unique view while Hrithik performs Jackie Chan-esque comedic stunts. Harleen’s grandmother is warm, mischievous and her demeanor and dialogues are reminiscent of the late actress Zohra Sehgal. She is easily the film’s most lovable character.
But most scenes fall flat due to poor writing and direction. Song sequences with mediocre music and uninspired choreography fail to provide respite. Why does Harleen choose to trust a man who, without her consent, sedates her multiple times in the name of safety and kills many men without remorse? Her dialogues confessing her confusion as to why she feels drawn to Rajveer despite being repulsed by him are half-hearted and unconvincing.
Logic continues to be dismissed in stunts when Rajveer leaps across the ocean with the help of Jet Ski footwear, soars over Abu Dhabi in rocket-propelled sneakers, or out of nowhere races a Formula 1 car in city streets. These inane scenarios solicit chuckles rather than nods of appreciation, which is unfortunate given the hype surrounding the production values. The background score is loud, over-the-top and attempts to act as a cue for the audience to get their hearts racing. Pixelated images that appear to be poorly transferred digital footage are another source of disappointment and surprise in this big budget studio film.
While the leading pair are arguably the most beautiful and in-shape actors in the industry, the chemistry Hrithik shares with Katrina isn’t as crackling as his on-screen pairing with Aishwariya Rai Bachchan in Dhoom 2, and especially in Jodha Akbar, or with Barbara Mori in Kites. The Bang Bang couple do share a steamy kiss, which no doubt will be become the go-to YouTube tutorial for Indian adolescents, and they sizzle in Greece during the song “Meherbaan” but such moments are few and fail to raise the film to the desired temperature. The relationship they shared in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was far more organic and makes their interactions in Bang Bang appear forced and insincere.
Aside from performing fairly well in a comedic interrogation scene, there’s not much proof in Bang Bang of Katrina’s on-the-job training after almost a decade in the film industry. Limited expressions, shrill dialogue delivery and sloppy Hindi diction, which she usually dubs with care, are distracting and disappointing. Yes, she looks very pretty throughout the film and ravishing during songs, but the spell her beauty casts is quickly broken once the music ends.
Hrithik tries his hardest to salvage scenes with attitude, charm and lots of brawn, and reveals more skin than the heroine. But he can’t save this film the way he rescues his on-screen partner. Despite such an inadequate and unsatisfactory platform, he remains one of the more well-rounded heroes in Hindi film.
Sadly, where he truly dazzles is during the title song, the only decent tune in the film, which plays during the end credits. Performing homage to the late Michael Jackson, a muscled Hrithik shimmies and sways with genuine glee to the only well choreographed dance number in the movie. The audience is, if only for a short time, reunited with the Hrithik once responsible for mass hysteria but is made to wait two and a half hours to see the highlight of Bang Bang. Watch the few exciting moments of entertainment related to the film — and get more bang for your buck — by watching the title song’s video and “Meherbaan” on YouTube.
Shivani cannot remember a time when she wasn’t madly in love with Indian cinema, which now inspires much of her writing. She lives in both New York City and Twitterpur at @Shivani510.