Rowdy Rathore Telegraph Movie Review by Pratim D. Gupta

Chinta ta ta chita chita chinta ta ta… Dhadang dhang dhang dhadang dhang dhang… Baba re baba re baba!

There are bad films and there are very bad films and there is Rowdy Rathore. A two-and-a-half hour unmitigated assault on the senses, it is the kind of movie that makes you wonder how exactly did Indian cinema end up here in the summer of 2012. What check-boxes did we tick in the last few years to deserve this? If this is mainstream, we are definitely way downstream.

With the unholy combo of Sanjay Leela Bhansali as producer and Prabhudheva as director, Rowdy Rathore was always smelling foul. But the extent of the rot has to be seen to be believed. Seen those dubbed B-grade south Indian action film reruns on TV? This would struggle to get a slot there.

It doesn’t need a Harvard business degree to see why everyone is suddenly fascinated with remaking the original 2006 Telugu hit Vikramarkudu. Along with Rowdy Rathore, there have been four remakes already (the Bengali one, Bikram Singha, released last Friday). The plot brings together worlds that have been roaring on the opening weekends. From the police force solidarity a la Singham to the rustic backdrop a la Dabangg, it’s the ultimate dhinka chika package. Add silly comedy, grotesque violence and oodles of titillation, you have a blockbuster on paper. No matter how traumatic it is for the audience in that dark theatre.

Really, images from Rowdy Rathore are straight out of bad Bollywood of the ’80s and ’90s, images that were embarrassing and uncouth. Like the hero constantly eyeing and pinching the heroine’s love handles — replete with unsavoury close-ups — is almost a sub-plot here. Like it was in Rakshak back in 1996 when Suniel Shetty would kuchi kuchi Karisma Kapoor. Or the nauseating villain called Baapji (Nasser) who rules the town just like Om Puri’s Baapji in 1991’s Narsimha.

To make matters worse, there are two Akshays. One is a small-time gunda named Shiva and the other a top cop named Vikram Rathore. But don’t even make an effort to distinguish one from the other. After all, Akki has been the same in all his films for a very long time now, and Rowdy Rathore is no exception. The only physical difference? Almost like Thomson

and Thompson, one has a flared moustache and the other a drooping one. Quite a poetic analogy that, no?

There’s Sonakshi, of course, who belly-bounces up and down the streets for the first hour of the film, disappears for the next one hour, and comes back for more navel action in the last 20 minutes. And given the orgasm of colours in her wardrobe, you should check yourself for chromophobia once you stagger out of the cinema hall.

You can also feel a strong sense of nonchalance in the way the film is made. Suddenly towards the end of Chinta ta ta chita chita, Kareena

Kapoor appears and starts dancing and then Tamil star Vijay appears on the streets and starts hugging Akshay and Prabhudheva (he is also jumping around). In another scene, totally out of cue, Akshay says his Housefull 2 line: “Kyun thak raha hai?” Yeah, just about anything goes; the crores will come in anyway!

The songs (composed by Sajid-Wajid), especially the lyrics (Sameer Anjaan and Faaiz Anwar), make the throwback to forgettable Bolly complete. There was so much hullabaloo about Choli ke peechhe kya hai; how come no one’s bothered about Pallu ke neeche daba ke rakkha hai utha doon to hungama ho?! Such lines plus the violence really should push the film to an adult category but Rowdy Rathore remains U/A.

In the film, Shiva has these two imaginary buttons in his head, the

pressing of one rewinds what he has just seen and the pressing of the other plays it back for him. Wish there was that third button in our heads and one could just fast forward the torture.

Don’t angry me? Pity you! Pity you big, bad Bollywood!



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