Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rowdy Rathore perpetuates crap masala entertainment for most parts

Those who have been following my recent tweets would know that I was definitely uncomfortable about Rowdy Rathore going by its promos that permeated unadulterated abhorrent mustiness. Yet, I was lured into watching it for the choreography of one song and the sheer love for movies. Its been an unusually busy weekend this, one where I had to cancel my Friday ticket for this one and actually go one day late on a Saturday. Rowdy Rathore is a story which has been made or is being made in 5 languages now - Telugu (original), Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Hindi. One must think that the plot is infused with slobbering badasssery and goofiness that will validate this thirst amongst filmmakers to remake it again and again. The question also rises, if it has been made so many times, would the half of Indian audience already have seen it? The answer is no, because our predominant Bollywood audience never watches cinema in other languages, while that audience never really watches Hindi cinema. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, taking a shocking departure from his school of cinema, picked up this script to produce, hired a director who went scot-free for his patchy product (Wanted) because it became a runaway hit, and shielded this cash cow to earn big bucks juicing out the ongoing trends set by Wanted, Dabangg, Singham etc. Does the gimmick still work? Unfortunately not.

Rowdy Rathore furthers that brand of shlocky silliness which has been served to us again and again and we still seem to love it. Pra
bhudheva is on the director's seat and you can see his style emblazoned upon each frame. Shiraz Ahmed adapts the screenplay in Hindi but doesnt do much to the inherently louche plot. Rowdy Rathore tells you a story which is a mashup of many others you have seen a dozen other times, with a few much needed variations and much more clumsy. The concept of a double role has been beaten to death and the director has no qualms in letting it out from the very onset. He shys away from the conflict focusing on other aspects of the story, which do not exist sadly. To make up for the paralytic rendition, he uses song and dance profusely topped with a lollypop visual style and insipid gags which the audience today still laughs at. Half an hour into the narrative and you feel as if you have inhaled dangerous amounts of chloroform. The leaking colors in every frame, mundane proceedings and teenage thrill do not help you feel better anyhow. However, there are a few contrived portions which help you get rid of this baggage, not entirely though. *Spoiler alert* The fact that the con man's change of heart is exponential and reasoned by the back story as well as what he sees of Rathore as a fearless man is definitely more likeable than the pulpy sudden one. The second half of the movie definitely lifts it up, providing for some hilarious moments as well as some where you just feel the high because your hero has become a badass. The only scene which stands out is the one when the conman goes back to the village as the cop himself to avenge Rathore and is first introduced to the villain. Another scene which could stand out is the climax where Sonakshi's character stands up to the goons. But these couple of moments dont overcome the insurmountable garbage created by the majority of the film. Most of the character graphs are smudgy wasting some good actors. Using south indian actors in north indian characters falls flat on the ground. So does the cornball treatment of the entire screenplay. Its hard for Prabhudheva to get rid of it too, and nothing bad about it but at least here it does not fir into the general scheme of things. Rathore exhibits every bit of moxie that you want him to, the one liners, the numerous fight sequences and the idea of invincibility. This makes me ponder over a recent question raised to me. Does India really need superheroes if our heroes do the job? 

Rowdy Rathor
e has a slicker second half but the finale waters down the effect and leaves you whimsical. No character seems to possess the courage that Rathore does, neither do the villains seem menacing as they stick to cliches picked up from 70s and 80s including agonizing women, looting the villagers and obnoxiously screaming. However, the track with Kumar and the kid is endearing, but barely do such tracks lose their sight. The portrayal of the con-turned-cop by Kumar is clownishly passable. Agreed, Rowdy Rathore is a hardcore masala entertainer but it would not be a crime to cut down some decrepit tracks or treat it with a nifty flair. Ultimately, this turned out to be as slapdash as I expected it to be.

Backed by
 SLB Films and UTV Pictures, Rowdy Rathore has all the packaging it needed. But what do you make out of a movie if your lead character is wearing either of pink, yellow, red or florescent pants in each scene? The production design is obtusely garish, the cinematography by Santosh Thundiyil is of that of a B-movie and the dialogues are shamelessly trite. Music by Sajid-Wajid is strictly average with Dhadang Dhadang and Pritam Pyaare being the pick of the lot. Both of them have some amazing masaledaar choreography that makes you jump like a kid at the unabashed energy that is thrown at you. A special mention for Maryam Zakaria, Shakti Mohan and Mumaith Khan who dance their hearts out in the Pritam Pyaare song. The film stands at a staggering 2 hours 20 minutes and could have done with some deft chopping in the first half. Note that, Santosh Pawar, the editor of the film. Director Prabhudheva squanders away all the resources provided to him by indulging in his tongue-in-cheek treatment.

Akshay Kumar is
 the life of Rowdy Rathore. Saddled with a double role, Kumar delivers an earnest performance that makes you sit through the otherwise banal wherabouts of Rowdy Rathore. He reinvents his zany foolhardy and goes back to doing what he is best at, an action hero. The fact that he doesnt sleepwalk through this one is evident is in the nuance with his he plays both the characters. However, one is also exposed to his inefficiency to rise above the script. Sonakshi Sinha actually gets atleast two more scenes than what she got in Dabangg and should be considered an achievement for her. She dances with bursts of energy but would require serious transgressions to get out of the image of a typical UP girl. Nasser and Supreeth Reddy dont work as the villains. Their bulging red eyeballs and crazy screaming doesnt get them anywhere in terms of creating a fear for the character. Yashpal Sharma is wasted in an inconsequential role and so are most of the other actors.

Rowdy Rathore is an i
nefficient product that perpetuates crap masala entertainment further. The movie has opened to an expected thunderous response and should make its way to multi-crore club soon. Surprsingly, the word of mouth is not outrageously bad which is good news for the shameful bank balances of Sanjay Leela Bhansali due to his recent outings. It might as well pivot Akshay Kumar as a blockbuster solo hero neck to neck with his more successful peers. Sonakshi and Prabhudheva have another one to add to their growing list. Rowdy Rathore may keep you entertained if you enjoy this kind of cinema, specially if you loved Dabangg and Singham.Having said that, either of them were better made than this one. I would heave a sigh of relief if this trend of cop movies stops but it doesnt look like it with Vettai now being remade in Hindi with Shahid Kapoor. I guess there is no more reason left to make films other than financial gains. As for this one, go for it if Akshay Kumar is too irresistible for you. As for me, I would skip this one to a DVD if I could. Oh wait, maybe not!

ing - 1.5/5

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