A Flying Jatt-Tiger.jpg

Tiger Shroff in “A Flying Jatt.”

The plot is basic good-versus-evil, like all superhero plots must be. What sets the first half of this movie a class apart from the rest of them is the way in which the plot is conceived and narrated, with the theme being environment preservation, as there are alternatives to everything except Mother Earth (a quote in the film).

Malhotra (Kay Kay Menon, hamming away as is his norm more often than not), a ruthless businessman, wants to usurp a small ‘village’ and a tree worshipped there to clear the way for his project. He is a widower with an adorable daughter and is a good father but does not bother about other human beings.

A stumbling block in his way is Mrs. Kartar Singh (Amrita Singh), the wife of a late brave Sardar who was known as ‘A Flying Jatt’ (why not the more grammatical “The” in place of “A” we wonder? Just to show the Indian disrespect for English grammar?). She refuses Malhotra’s lures with lucre and even threatens to physically thrash him. Her son, a timid martial arts teacher named Aman (which means “peace,” played by Tiger Shroff) wants her to compromise, but this Bebe (the Punjabi term for mom) is more courageous.

Helpless, Malhotra summons the evil mercenary Raka (Nathan Jones) to eliminate Aman and demoralize the strong woman, and also chop the tree the village worships — all obstacles to the fruition of his greed. Raka encounters Aman as he is praying there, and, in their ensuing fight, both of them metamorphose — Aman into a superhero, and Raka into an evil force fed by pollution and toxic waste.

Raka conveniently disappears for a while, and Aman’s superpowers (even his bullet wounds heal in seconds, and we wonder what happens to the bullets inside, but let that be!) are seen, recognized and acted upon by his mother, who even stitches him an apt costume after watching foreign superhero videos. He also adopts his father’s name — A Flying Jatt.

And Aman (we are told that he has a fear of heights, but nothing substantiates that onscreen!) begins his activities. As Raka resurfaces, he thrives on the pollution and toxic waste emitted by Malhotra’s factories and comes face to face again with Aman.

In the second half, we find environmental studies teacher Kirti (Jacqueline Fernandez) having a “best friend” in Aman but falling in love with A Flying Jatt before realizing he is the same person; Aman’s brother (Gaurav Pandey) taking his place in costume amusingly in a few sequences; and Aman accepting to wear the Sikh turban that he has refused for a specific reason.

And yet, between the riveting and amusing, if predictable, first half and the finale of the film, however, the film’s graph goes alarmingly into a parabolic descent! The narrative goes into ridiculous absurdities: the climax is shown happening in outer space (!!), there are times when Aman seems to lose his superpowers for absurd “reasons” that are actually non-reasons, and Malhotra’s daughter falls sick due to pollution, and yet the businessman does not apologize to the Singhs.

There are two aspects that are totally needless: the appearance of Shraddha Kapoor in a superfluous cameo and the death of Aman’s brother. The illogic is also taken to fatheaded levels: an environmental studies teacher lives in a picturesque home straight out of a Hollywood film; a small village (a tacky circular set in long shot) even has a thriving market, a huge school and a big population; and we also have the holy tree that seemingly has switch-on-switch-off powers! The height of absurdity is how the populace waits (for how long? No matter!) for the result while, invisible and unknown to them all, the hero battles the demon in space!

Extremely tacky to average camerawork (Vijay Arora) and VFX, and mediocre songs contribute further to lower the standard of what begins as, apparently, Shroff’s strongest film and tumbles to become his weakest. Shroff too is unsure in the beginning, picking up only as he becomes his self-confessed dream character — a superhero.

Sadly, for what she defined as her first well-defined character, Fernandez gets one of her worst roles with nothing to do other than grin idiotically and do song sequences with bad music. Amrita Singh is good, but a pale shadow of her earlier wonderful characters like in “2 States.” Jones is as expected, his expressions very strong and his persona stronger (in terms of credibility). Pandey as Aman’s brother is striking — a born natural.

We liked the message behind the film but not the silly way in which it is presented. Yes, children may take this film to a success level that it does not deserve on merit — this is no “Krrish,” “Mr. India” or even “Toonpur Ka Superhero,” but the kids’ devotion to Shroff and his special skills (martial arts, dance and just being himself) might see them enjoy this one-time-watch film as a decent comic strip on celluloid.

Shroff thus seems to have no reason to not complete a hat-trick of hits.

Rating: ***

Balaji Telefilms’ presents “A Flying Jatt”

Produced by: Shobha and Ekta Kapoor

Directed by: Remo D’Souza

Written by: Remo D’Souza, Tushar Hiranandani, Akash Kaushik and Madhur Sharma

Music: Sachin-Jigar

Starring: Tiger Shroff, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nathan Jones, Amrita Singh, Gaurav Pandey and Kay Kay Menon

Sp. App.: Shraddha Kapoor and others

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