Director Sabbir Khan’s romantic action drama Baaghi, after Heropanti, is Tiger Shroff’s second outing; and is the Tiger roaring at the box-office? With 38 crores pocketed just over the opening weekend, he is indeed. Though the waxed cherubim is yet to fully grow a beard, he is on his way to establishing himself as the next action hero in tinsel town.
Costar Shraddha Kapoor is as lovely as they come, thankfully, with nothing in common with her father, Shakti Kapoor, except Padmini Kolhapure.
Sudheer Babu, as the villain with a beguilingly cute smile, impresses with his beef and his brief.
The two men vie for the same woman, hence the reason behind half of Bangkok being killed. The woman’s greedy father, played by Sunil Grover, aka, Gutthi from Comedy Nights with Kapil, with a wig and a fake accent, looks ready to jump any moment into a sari: so strong is the connection with that show’s character.
Let’s say we’ve got a performing poodle with tricks, just a few, not too many, and we want to show these tricks. Let’s pretend we have a story, which we carefully camouflage, to con people into believing the tricks are incidental, just collateral damage. The poodle can climb walls like Spiderman, and descend like popping coconuts. He can’t move without doing backflips, cartwheels, or somersaults. So let’s build a bit of aerobatics into the plot — send the monkey into a martial arts school where he’s being a rebel, but asked to find a cause, pronto and pro bono.
But a movie without a song, rain et al? Naah! So we take the plot to a rainy lake-battered landscape in Kerala where swinging wet from trees is as common as banana, palm, and coconut in the backyard. Swinging alone doesn’t help, though, the audience asks that it be done in lovely company, and so we inject a damsel into the scenery. Let the damsel be then removed from the scene by a ruffian, her rescue becomes the cause of this rebel, who, along the way, can show us his tricks: and, voila, you’ve got it.
So many bones are crunched in this movie, so many tables wrecked, that it must have emptied half of IKEA’s stores in Asia to ship furniture to the sets. The violence and stunts equal ten of Jackie Chan’s movies, with Rumble in the Bronx, Protector, Blood Sport thrown in for complimentary spicing. Tiger himself is something of a mix of a soundless Bruce Lee, a smooth-chested Tarzan, and a fidgety space chimp. When he’s not flailing in Kalaripayattu (Kerala’s martial art) style, he’s wearing either a silly grin or a sulking scowl.
The movie was not planted in the mind of a creative screenwriter from India; the storyline flatters the Indonesian movie The Raid: Redemption, and Telugu Varsham with unabashed adoration and imitation. There seems to be a time lag between the dialogues and what’s happening on the screen, you have to lip-read carefully to understand: the dialogues are as appropriate as playing requiescat during a walk down the aisle. “Ya ya,” one remembers, is all a little orphan in the movie can mouth, and he can mouth it for 133 minutes.
The violence is tough on some viewers, and many were seen walking away halfway through the second half, abandoning their popcorn and coke. There are many loopholes and unresolved questions in the story; the scriptwriting is pretty weak and the dialogues lame as a bent, rusty nail. Filmgoers may feel they’ve wandered into a Jackie Chan movie minus Jackie, replete but with song and dance; and drifted out a little dizzy, deaf, and disoriented. In sum, this is a movie for the fight buffs.
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Nidhi Singh attended the American International School in Kabul before moving to Delhi to study English and accountancy, and she presently lives in Jamnagar. Her work has appeared in Down in the Dirt, Scarlet Leaf, Bewildering Stories, and other publications.