"Khiladi 786," starring Akshay Kumar and Asin Thottumkal, was released on Friday, Dec.7. — Courtesy Photo
"Khiladi 786," starring Akshay Kumar and Asin Thottumkal, was released on Friday, Dec.7. — Courtesy Photo

Khiladi: When a moniker just about serves its purpose!

It’s a morally adequate decision that no one is touting Khiladi 786 – or as it’s called here, Khiladi – as the successor to the original Khiladi. This is mostly because 20-odd years and seven unconnected movies of mix-genres and failed-success later, the title that sprang Khiladi-title bearer Akshay Kumar’s career is anything but its own flimsy-mockery. The titles, some of comedy, some of action– and maybe one of two of whodunits — are just there to cash-in a fleeting memory of a darn-good thriller; call it a faux-franchise if you may.

Still, the argument doesn’t make a speck of a difference.

Today, when Bollywood is suddenly high-and-might again with its off-the-cuff multiplex expansion and bloated budgets, a star is as good as his last venture — and if he has a signature title, then that’s all there is to it to get people on board.

At least for one week, that is.

But that’s all Khiladi needs anyways.

There are a lot of movies out to reshape new-Bollywood. If I am glad at Khiladi for one thing, it is for its unimaginativeness. This is routine, dumb, family-friendly, masala Bollywood — and I wouldn’t want this “old-school” feeling to slide away just yet.

Nostalgic-gladness aside, Khiladi is embarrassingly hollow. Its story is borderline no-frills, buoyed by a smattering of serviceable-to-good performances. Chief of these is Mithun Chakraborty, a don named Tatya Tukaram Tendulkar — TTT for short, who can’t get his off-kilter sister (AsinThottumkal) married.

Sure enough, she has her reasons. Her boyfriend (Rahul Singh), for sake of a late dramatic entrance and some sidelined skits, rests behind bars; even when the police (played by an excellent MukeshTiwari) want’s him out … sometimes desperately.

Unconnected — for now, though — out in Punjab lives a lawless highwayman in cahoots with the local law. He is “Bahattar” Singh — that’s 72 —. Dressed as a fake cop, he loots criminal consignments and delivers a stake for municipal betterment; call him Robin Hood, except that title is already half-trademarked to Salman Khan.

What makes him “Khiladi bhaiyya” (as the song goes), I don’t know (is he good at sports?)

From what we see, he punches and kicks real hard and moves just outside a normal human’s persistence of vision. Slow motioned cinematography and wireworks, however, tell us every “standardized” hit he connects.

Bahattar, being the swashbuckling and kind-hearted guy that he is, has a problem getting married too, until Mansukh (HimeshReshammiya, also the co-producer and the music director of the movie) — a wedding planner, born to bad luck — takes him, with his half-eccentric and racially diverse family, to TTT.

There’s a small catch: both parties have to play-pretend to be policemen.

Comedy of errors this isn’t. It is unfussy, when it should have been deftly topsy-turvy. We chuckle when we should laugh-out-loud. A yawn fosters slowly when six of the seven songs (also by Mr. Reshammiya’s music), threaten us on-screen.

Is the movie bad? No, no. Silly and standardized: yes.

When we come out of the cinemas, the only wispy after-thought most of us will probably share is: it came, it went; will probably see it on cable television one day.

Released by IMGC Global Entertainment and Eros International.

Mohammad Kamran Jawaid has been professionally critiquing movies for a while now – say more or less ten years, exclusively for Dawn. About 400 reviews and features later (he stopped counting a long time ago), not being as young as he was before, he still feels the urge to write for another couple of centuries.

Despite living movies 24/7 (his company (http://kamranjawaid.com) helps filmmakers make movies), he is still truly, madly, deeply in love with cinema; the root cause of this anomaly requires further clinical trials. His twitter (http://twitter.com/kamranjawaid) reveals very little about him, other than him being the Senior Film Critic for Dawn.com.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (11)

aksha
December 17, 2012 8:16 pm
????
vaikom James
December 19, 2012 10:00 am
Is this film released in Pak too???
Sultan Khan
December 16, 2012 12:53 pm
Don't know which is more boring : the movie or your review ?
AZ
December 17, 2012 4:32 am
Why promote bollywood ? We should make our own movies and let (india) review on that . I guess that would be fun .
ibraheem
December 16, 2012 5:32 pm
seriously
abc
December 16, 2012 10:01 pm
:)
Rabia Rafi
December 17, 2012 11:11 pm
Nice review. Bollywood is here to stay! But Pakistan needs to make its movies too
Sabeen
December 18, 2012 1:09 am
the film kinda sucks but i've seen worse at atrium
patrick lobo
December 16, 2012 7:47 pm
:-)
siko
December 17, 2012 12:20 pm
hahaha..well said
rafique b
December 22, 2012 7:55 am
Yes. All major movie come out here.
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