(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on June 4, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/yawn-inducing-rathore)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Nasser
Director: Prabhu Deva
Rating: 1 star
Full disclosure: I’m a closet Akshay Kumar fan – I love his jaw clenches, monosyllabic catchphrases, attempts at projecting righteous anger, and cheap slapstick. So, it’s pretty damn hard for him to bore me. But, there’s mindless fun, and there’s inane blah, and Rowdy Rathore is mehhh.
The film opens to the key ingredient of an Akshay Kumar film – cute, abandoned orphan – listening to her dead mama’s lullaby. Suddenly, thugs in a panic yell, “Vikram Rathore zinda hai!” They hurry to exhume the grave Mr. Rathore has been inexplicably buried in, and find it filled with stones. Oh, please God, not Khiladi Vampire, no!
Thankfully, we see him in cop avatar, butt first, chasing after a petty thief who robs obese folks. Whaddya know, this is Vikram Rathore’s double Shiva, a conman who’s so good he cons his partner, and so smooth he gets policewomen to dance to his tunes. His signature move is this beat we Madrasi kids learn to tap out on our desks in school. Apparently, that’s all you need to rule Mumbai.
Just when I’m wondering whether Prabhu Deva’s come up with a clever spoof on aftershave ads and Tamil films, a song takes over, featuring so many guest stars I think he’s lampooning Farah Khan too. But the satire’s unintended – this is just one of those movies that breaks into random song when the filmmakers have no idea where to take the story.
By now, Paro (Sonakshi Sinha) has walked into Shiva’s life with coy grins and horny stares. Yet, he must strive to woo her, sans “Shahrukh jaise charm, Hrithik jaise looks, Aamir jaise cuteness, Salman jaise body”. You’d think the plump object of his affection would be swept off her feet by anyone who can lift her – but no, she extracts a promise from him that will rob him of his livelihood, in the ghar ki mandir too.
But he must commit one last chori, and thus cross paths with Vikram Rathore – a supercop who, despite “chaar saal mein chaar promotion” still holds the probationary rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police. Yet, the womanising, arrack-manufacturing, grain-hoarding dons of Devgarh are terrified of both his muscle power and his trite one-liners, literally translated from Tamil film dialogue – till he succumbs to a headache. Enter Rowdy Rathore to replace Fail Rathore, and entertainment falls victim far ahead of Nasser, whose usual brilliance is lost in predictable twists.
The Verdict: The most engaging part of the film is the outtake reel, and I wouldn’t even recommend that.