Malang movie review: Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani’s film is a missed opportunity
Director - Mohit Suri
Cast - Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani, Anil Kapoor, Kunal Kemmu
Just like the non-linear Malang, I don’t know where to start its review. Its plot, narrative, characters, climax and multitude of twists and turns are a heady mix and honestly, too much to take at one go.
Malang begins with a high voltage fight sequence and soon Aditya Roy Kapur goes on a killing spree; then a flashback as we are familiarized with Aditya and Disha Patani’s love story; cut to the present day where he’s again killing cops; and wham, we are back in the past. A series of events unfold to reveal the climax. Yes, that’s pretty much the order in which the film tries to keep you invested.
Watch the Malang trailer here
Director Mohit Suri, who has earlier helmed Kalyug, Aashiqui 2 and Ek Villain, frequently references his past works. While the film is backed by some intense performances from Aditya, Anil Kapoor and Kunal Kemmu, its wafer-thin plot makes you wonder why such films are still being made in Bollywood. Malang is so bad in parts that it can potentially give you a headache. Its length drags it down and what appears like an intriguing plot in the beginning soon turns limp.
Set in Goa, the film shows Advait Thakur (Aditya) and Sara (Disha) meeting at a rave party and instantly falling in love. Advait is a shy guy from Mumbai while Sara is a footloose woman who has recently landed in India. She doesn’t have a phone, is not on social media, and has a to-do list of things to overcome her fears. Soon they decide to make each moment count and live life to the fullest.
However, one encounter with the cops changes their fate and the story turns into a revenge drama. As Advait goes on a killing spree, we meet Anjaney Agashe (Anil Kapoor) -- a trigger-happy cop who believes in closing cases with his gun – and the yin to his yang, by-the-book policeman Michael Rodriguez (Kunal Kemmu). Soon after, everyone is killing everyone, and that’s about it.
While the first half builds up the curiosity and you genuinely want to know the reason why Aditya is targeting policemen, the second half whittles away the opportunity. Even the two big reveals don’t turn out to be as big as one would expect. Thirty minutes into the film and you can easily predict what is going to happen next. The non-linear narrative doesn’t do any good either because the time span being covered is only five years so you can’t really make out if the characters are in the present day or not.
And what’s with stereotyping Goa to merely a destination that’s about drugs, parties, murders and repeat. The only thing innovative in the entire film is perhaps the quirky disclaimers that pop up each time there’s a scene featuring drugs — ‘Don’t be insane, drugs ruin the brain’, ‘Drugs are roads to death’, ‘Nashe ki maar barbaad karde aadmi aur parivaar’, ‘Drugs cost you more than just money’, ‘Addicts don’t get old, they die young’.
If there is anything that could save this sinking ship, it’s the performances. Kunal not only impresses but also surprises in Malang. He slips into the skin of his character effortlessly and you love watching him onscreen. He is intense, good looking and menacing. Anil as the senior cop is good but not extraordinary. He brings a fine balance between being over-the-top and flamboyant. Aditya is impressive and his chiseled body and extensive physical transformation goes with his action-packed role.
Disha gets to show off her abs more than her acting chops. Even her dialogues are as blah as it gets. Imagine one of her wishes is, ‘to eat everything I can for a day’ or when she says, ‘Main cheezein nahi, yaadein collect karti hoon’. Elli AvrRam (Jessie) plays the typical Goan hippie with dreadlocks and tattoos and easily outperforms Disha. Other supporting characters include Vatsal Sheth, Keith Sequeira and Amruta Khanvilkar, deliver in their respective roles.
One thing that I particularly liked in the film is how each character has a fairly convincing back-story justifying their actions and reactions onscreen. Each one of them have experienced pain -- Advait has parents who are separated, Sara always wondered why her parents devoted their life to raise her, Jessie came to Goa with money and then could never get away from this nomadic life and Agashe, too, has a past that he wants to forget but can’t. Amid all this, it’s Michael’s story that forms crux of the entire plot.
Story and performances aside, music is one of the strongest points in Malang. The title track strikes the right chord while the track Phir Na Mile Kabhi in Ankit Tiwari’s voice stays with you.
Watch Malang if you really must. It rides on the thrill quotient, has some good performances and a good looking pair at its centre but that’s about it. The plot ends up looking like a mockery of a subject that needed a better storytelling.
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