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Akshay Kumar vs Amjad Khan: Who's the better Gabbar?

Akshay Kumar, who started his career as an action hero and went on to prove his good comic timing later, seems desperate.

bollywood Updated: May 04, 2015 13:30 IST
Arnab Banerjee
Arnab Banerjee
Hindustan Times
Akshay Kumar,Gabbar Is Back,Amjad Khan

Akshay Kumar, who started his career as an action hero and went on to prove his good comic timing later, seems desperate. Not because he cannot bag big banner films anymore, or he cannot call the shots (he has been criticised for getting co-actors' roles chopped at the editing table). But because he is not getting the desired box-office results for his latest films. It's Entertainment and Shaukeen failed to garner good response at the ticket window. Holiday and Baby did well, but they also failed to present any threat to the Khan trio in terms of collections. Probably it was the result of his despondent state that he signed Gabbar Is Back.

The film has Kumar roaring a la Gabbar style good 40 years after the original voice (who else but Amjad Khan's in the epic directed by Ramesh Sippy Sholay?), but in a Robinhood avatar, as he turns vigilante after being wronged once, delivers some of the hardest punches to whosoever he thinks is behind corrupt practices. Therefore, you have unscrupulous doctors performing an operation on a dead 'patient' and asking the relatives to cough up a hefty amount, or corrupt builders using material that makes building fall like a pack of cards- quite literally so! And what is common to all - they all get to see the Gabbar glower and sure enough pay a heavy price!

Needless to say, this take on Gabbar is side-splitting amusing and even hilarious at times!

Compared to the iconic villain Gabbar, who is a household name in India, Kumar's weak thin menace sounds like a whimper, despite his full-blown facial hair and cool dude looks. And when he romances, both Kareena Kapoor Khan in a flashback sequence and Shruti Haasan in song sequences, his 47 years of existence look jaded, though to give the devil its due, he looks very fit: Thanks to his strict discipline and vegetarian diet!

Unfortunately, with a storyline as thin as item-girl-in-the-film Chitrangada Singh's teeny-weeny appearance in an equally minuscule attire, the film makes viewers laugh out loudly at some of the most absurd scenes at a police station; cringe at the discordant clashes between Kumar (Aditya) and others (Suman Talwar, Jagdish Rajpurohit, Nitin Dheer); or seethe with rage at the naïve justice that Kumar dishes out with righteousness. Sample this: Adi is called by the real estate tycoon Digvijay Patil (Talwar) and his goons in what seems like an enquiry. After Patil threatens to destroy him, Adi, motivated by his just ways, is about to leave. But no, he bolts the door and beats, kicks, punches in a no-holds-barred battle.

By the time it is time for him to surrender before the law and he decides to make that final speech on the top of his police van, you wonder what else is in store for you. Another drama? A 'deshbhakti' song, may be? Nah….a last minute escape, Nope…..It's a full-on speech that leads to his uncontrollable fans finally coming to terms with their grief!

With decibel levels screeching to eardrum blasting level throughout the 130 minute deal, you would want to definitely rush out of the theatre for some quietude.

But, my own worry is even more serious: If the real Gabbar ever got to know that he has been caricatured, that too, in this uproariously comic manner, he sure would threaten and intimidate director Krish for such a misrepresentation of facts. After all, Gabbar's name was such it gave shivers to many children not just in the adjoining regions but miles away too!

Read:Gabbar Is Back review

First Published: May 04, 2015 13:17 IST