In “Boss”, the new nostalgia prone, action-comedy, slow-motion flying kicks come as often as overly loud in-your-face humor. This is the least bit surprising because as over the top as “Boss” is, it stars Bollywood action-man Akshay Kumar. Mr. Kumar is a once angry, now all-smiles Robin Hood-esque hitman, and he’s pretty much indestructible – but then, you already knew that.
The movie, though, takes its time getting Mr. Kumar’s ‘Boss’ (he is named that way after saving ‘Big Boss’ Danny Danzongpa’s life), and in the interim bounces around a good bit of secondary characters and backstories – Mithun Chakraborthy’s limping pride-stricken school master named Satyakant Shastri, and Rushiraj Pawar, playing Mr. Kumar’s younger, don’t-angry-me self – all of which are given a decent, if elongated, running time.
Fifteen years later, Shashtri is still affected by the loss of his son to Big Boss (he saved the newspaper story that tells what happened). Big Boss is a warm-hearted well-known contract killer, and he channels Boss’ anger into smiles (it’s not as weird as it sounds).
Shashtri’s younger son Shiv (Shiv Pandit) grows up in his brother’s footsteps – the young supporting lead can beat up ten men just like big brother. He also falls for Ankita (Aditi Rao Hyderi, bland) the young sister of corrupt cop Ayushman Thakur (Ronit Roy, in excellent form as a sociopath baddie), who has already given her hand in marriage to Vishal (Aakash Dabhade) the loser son of an unscrupulous politician (Govind Namdeo).
When Mr. Kumar does make his way into the picture (the titles happen after his full-blown entry) “Boss” is already one-thirds of its way to the finish line. As it happens, “Boss” only comes alive after ‘Boss’ jumps off a truck and roughen-ups a handful of hoodlums to the beat of a series of gargantuan set of speakers. Yes, like I said, this is kind of over-the-top, but it fits director Anthony D’Souza’s mood just fine.
Mr. D’Souza’s debut was the 2009 underwater, con-thriller “Blue” (also starring Mr. Kumar), and it had one of the most ludicrous price tags at the time, including a blatant rework of the corridor gun-battle sequence from “Bad Boys 2” (Mr. D’Souza had consulted Bad Boys cinematographer Amir Mokri on tips to shoot the scene).
It’s a good thing most of the action in “Boss” suit its setting (a bash-em-up in the middle of a set passing off as a crowded Delhi Street, and a rooftop Parkour-inspired run by Mr. Kumar are key highlights). Mr. D’Souza’s frame still has a lot going for it – there’s well-mannered, properly lit cinematography (by Laxman Utekar) with regards to the z-depth, and a lot of background extras; (speaking of extra’s the movie also has Johnny Lever, Sanjai Mishra, Mukesh Tiwari, Parikshit Sahni, Sudesh Berry and Shakti Kapoor in bit-parts).
The production looks a little too lavish at times (Sonakshi Sinha guest appears in two songs, Prabhu Deva choreographs and stars in one), while the screenplay deliberately sets itself as a film out of the 80’s and 90’s (the brother’s separated, father angry angle) – but that is hardly a reason to rant against the movie.
“Boss” is an idiosyncratic masala fare where Mr. Kumar shouts out comedy rather than play it in undertones (does he ever though?). Some of the in-your-face flagrancy works, some doesn’t. At least “Boss” doesn’t bore; its songs, including the rework of “Har Kisi Ko”, from “Jaanbaaz”, are a different story.
Released by Viacom 18, “Boss” stars:
Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Shiv Pandit, Ronit Roy, Aditi Rao Hydari, Johnny Lever, Danny Denzongpa, Sanjai Mishra, Mukesh Tiwari, Parikshit Sahni, Shakti Kapoor, Sudesh Berry, Govind Namdeo, Aakash Dabhade and Rushiraj Pawar.
Directed by Anthony D'Souza; Produced by Ashwin Varde with Executive Producers Wasim Khan and Zulfaquar Haider Torabi; Screenplay by Farhad-Sajid (based on the screenplay "Pokkiri Raja" by Siby K. Thomas, Udaykrishnan). Cinematography by Laxman Utekar; Editing by Rameshwar S. and Bhagat; Choreography, Ganesh Acharya, Raju Khan, Prabhu Dheva; Music by Chirantan Bhatt, Anjjan Meet, Deepak P.A., Sandeep Shirodkar, Yo Yo Honey Singh; Lyrics by Sahil Kaushal, Kumaar, Manoj Yadav.
The film is rated U/A for the usual – wire works and overt comedy.