We all have waited for Akshay Kumar’s return to the genre that was bread and butter for him in early days of his career. The time was absolutely ripe for him to reinvent himself as an action hero, now that every leading actor had a Ghajini, Dabbang, Singham or Don to his credit. The promos of Rowdy Rathore looked rather promising with plenty of brawn and rowdiness, some scintillating musical score and a petite young leading actress. But alas, after spending two hours and twenty minutes inside the theatre, I could not help but regret the fact that Rowdy Rathore was less of action and more of comedy, and that too, quite sadly, unintentional and accidental.
The first half of the film is extremely lethargic with Akshay Kumar playing Shiva, a thug with a good heart. The emphasis here is mainly on inciting a few laughs, but the success rate in this regard is dismally low. Proceedings pick up only after the real ‘Vikram Rathore’ makes an entry. And from here on till the time director unforgivably decides to do away with feisty Rathore in favor of Shiva, the film enjoys its honeymoon period. Akshay Kumar plays a double role but excels only in the garb of a fearless and gutsy police officer Vikarm Rathore. Though the actor carries the entire film on his broad shoulders, but is somewhat undone by confused direction and wafer thin plot.
Majority of the film is set in a fictional village of Devgarh, which we are told is a few kilometers away from Patna. But the locales and terrain of the village belie this presumption and even the characters of the village look confused in their attempt to look and behave like Biharis. Post interval, some bad boys break into horrible Bihari accent, only to do away with it whenever and wherever they feel like. All of this confusion does not ‘angry’ you, but makes you laugh, what if sarcastically. It was absolutely fine if logic and reasoning were given a backseat in a supposed all-out action flick, but here the twin pillars of storyline are mercilessly thrown out of the window.
Some of the scenes in the first half, such as the in-built rewind and play buttons in Shiva’s head are somewhat funny, but the very purpose of making this film is somewhat lost because the director invests too much into the romantic track of Akshay and Sonakshi . The pair breaks into unexplainable song and dance sequences in the first half, which reminds you of Jitendra brand of cinema. You get a feeling that there are a few songs too many in the film, but despite the abundance of songs the lead pair lacks the chemistry and verve. Overall, otherwise, the film boasts of reasonably peppy music (Sajid-Wajid) with ‘Chinta ta chita chita’ and ‘Pritam Pyare’ being pick of the lot.(the 3 'item girls' spew venom!)
Prabhudeva is the biggest criminal here. He had all the ingredients of a potential potboiler at his disposal, yet he flounders to handle what can easily be called as the most predictable formula Indian cinema has. The double role opportunity is terribly wasted. I mean, we have seen Akshay wasting himself and being wasted by directors again and again, but here two Akshays have been left underused! It's criminal! There is no swapping of look-alikes anywhere, no thrill, no twist.
The story starts in a reverse narrative mode with Shiva (who is later christened Rowdy by his beloved, for no practical reason) appearing before Rathore. Then story goes in a flashback mode and Rathore is eventually done away with. And predictably, Rowdy steps into the big shoes of Rathore. He brings with him his cheeky sense of humor, visual demonstration and analysis of the 'chinta ta ta' act. Rowdy’s stupidity and the ease with which he takes over Rathore somewhat undermines the otherwise well-sketched character of the later. In the second half, there are fight scenes after every ten minutes, but none of them leave an impression on your mind or set your adrenalin pumping. And not to mention, towards the end Prabhudeva is suddenly reminded that he has a winner one-liner, ‘Faulad ki Aulad’ still in hand. So, Sonakshi Sinha makes sure that she calls Shiva by this name a couple of times. And hold on, the most hilarious aspect is yet to come, which also highlights the director’s failure to tap the potentiality of a double-role. The villains in the film are not aware that Rowdy has taken over from Rathore throughout the unfolding drama. It is only in the closing reels that Sonakshi Sinha again comes to director’s rescue, telling goons in a very nonchalant way-‘ Aur haan yeh Rathore nahin hai, Shiva hai. Mera Shiva.’ Err.
You are not angered or agitated by Rowdy Rathore. You just laugh at the sight of a promised action film turning out to be unintentionally comical. The support actors in the film are absolutely not worth mentioning, specially the main villain, whatever his real name is. Sonakshi Sinha's makes her presence felt only through her creamy waist and elaborate forehead. Her Dabanng act was much more meatier compared to Rowdy Rathore. And Prabhudeva's Wanted looks like a classic in front of this.
Sad to see that Akshay Kumar is still doing what he should not do. And what explains Sanjay Leela Bhansali producing this film? Perhaps he is hoping to collect a few easy bucks before canvassing his own magnum opus. Yes, you need money to build those extravagant sets.
There is no reason as such to watch this film. But as the IPL is over and the June sun promises to take away your sanity, go and catch Rowdy Rathore in the nearest air-conditioned theatre. Yes, the film is this much tolerable. Only this much.
Rating- ** (Average)