Rowdy Rathore is clearly Akshay Kumar’s attempt at stepping into Wanted and Dabangg territory. In other words – remakes of hit South Indian films, which are a mindless mix of comedy, romance, songs and action accented with ugly villains (one with a distinct Gabbar Singh effect) and plenty of gratuitous violence.
Prabhu Dheva brings his distinctive brand of direction to this double roll action-drama headlining Kumar as a small time crook and rowdy Shiva and as ASP Vikram Rathore, a fearless policeman. Shiva and Rathore’s lives intersect in a way that changes the former’s life forever. So much so that eventually Shiva is faced with a life-altering and dangerous decision, but not before he has sung ‘Chintata’ featuring cameos by Kareena Kapoor, Vijay and Prabhu Dheva with his ‘shirt choreography’.
The first half of the film ambles along aimlessly, establishing Shiva’s sleight of hand and romance with Paro (Sonakshi Sinha), a slightly dim-witted student who easily falls for his wily ways. In these scenes, Kumar looks much older than Sinha and is unable to turn on the charm needed to make Shiva endearing. The film picks up only with the arrival of the angry and determined Vikram Rathore, after which it becomes the movie you wanted to see all along – full of silly side actors, quick one-liners, a strong central character and a mission.
It’s when Kumar gets his gun that he also gets his groove, making mincemeat of a gang of goons in heartland India. He shows flashes of his old khiladi self in the action scenes. Sinha is stuck in her Dabangg representation and her acting has hardly matured in the last two years. The jury’s still out on whether she can live up to the hype.
So how do Shiva and Rathore reconcile their similarities? It would be unfair to give that much of the plot away. Suffice to say it is dealt with in the spirit of the film – suspension of disbelief.
Not only does the screenplay falter is the setting up of the plot, but also in the inclusion of overtly manipulative tools. For instance, every time the filmmaker wants to heighten emotions, he shows children in distress. And staying true to South Indian script formula, there’s a women’s empowerment speech, a few big song and dance numbers and a comedic sidekick.
In all Rowdy Rathore is fun once you get past the initial dullness. At least it won’t ‘angry’ you.