Direction: Prabhu Deva
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha
Don’t Angry Me! Akshay Kumar bellows this often in Rowdy Rathore. At one point, the command even plays out as background music. I think viewers need to co-opt the line. To all the directors, producers, actors who are inflicting eighties-style, low-IQ, deafeningly loud, unapologetically crass, mind-numbing movies on us, I just want to say: Don’t angry me! Don’t exhaust me! Don’t bludgeon me!
Rowdy Rathore beats you to a pulp, cinematically. It’s a relentless assault that kicks in as soon as the credit titles roll.
Directed by Prabhu Deva, this is the fourth remake of the story about a super-strong police officer named Vikram Singh Rathore, who twirls his moustache and smashes baddies into the ground. He is transferred to a village in Bihar, which is so lawless that a baddie kidnaps a police officer’s wife and systematically rapes her over many days.
The baddie’s father and uncle, both glowering, unwashed and vicious, run the place. So the cop has to beg the father to return his wife, even as she stands, sobbing, with the rapist son in clear view of everyone.
Needless to say, Vikram Singh Rathore starts to clean up the joint. But when Rathore is killed in battle, a small time conman named Shiva, who just happens to look exactly like him, takes his place. Logic, of course, is the last priority here. The idea is to have fun and revel in a purposefully over-the-top, kitschy, retro-movie. So Akshay swaggers in slow motion and Sonakshi Sinha provides oomph with close-ups of her waist. Shiva refers to her as “meraa maal.”
Is this entertaining? Not for me. There were a few fun moments. For instance, Shiva is such a smooth thief that he casually steals cell phones even as people are still talking on them. But these are few and far between. Mostly, Rowdy Rathore alternates between ugly violence and crude comedy or rude romance.
The film is one more in the line of movies — many of which are remakes from the south — that value masala above all else. But Dabangg and even Wanted, the latter of which was also directed by Prabhu Deva, were far more cohesive and compelling. Rowdy Rathore is pure noise. Only the brave should venture in.
(You can watch Anupama Chopra review the latest releases on The Front Row, every Friday at 8.30 pm on Star World)