baaghi review

Shraddha Kapoor and Tiger Shroff in a still from “Baaghi 3.” (photo provided)

The basic plot, as seen in the trailer, is indeed neat and emotionally strong: elder brother Vikram (Riteish Deshmukh), dispatched by the Ministry of External Affairs to Syria (shooting, however, done in Serbia and on sets!), is abducted by the villains there while he is talking on his mobile-phone to his younger brother, Ronnie (Tiger Shroff). Ronnie goes there to investigate, and obviously, in an unabashed “Fist & Furious” entertainer like this, Ronnie will have to bring him back successfully after defeating what one of the baddies says is “an entire country!”

So far, so riveting — I mean the trailer.

But in the film, things are not so smooth: the writers, producer and director go the whole ‘80s hog for this testosterone actioner, which will not be appreciated by all. Not because of the 1980s hangover—but because they go to absurd levels.

The introductory fight between the kid Ronnie and those who bully Vikram is very filmi: (complete with the “Chhod deta hai/phod deta hoon” lines heard in the trailer) and looks and sounds unpalatable for schoolchildren. The reason why Vikram is weak is never explained and we do not know also why their cop father (Jackie Shroff) does not do anything about it even when the boy is quite old. The explanation dad gives to his brother or colleague (it’s not clear either who he is) for beating up Ronnie for this incident is not convincing.

The worst aspect is how Vikram, at Ronnie’s say-so, becomes a cop, and still remains timid, as if such a job is just a matter of choice! Err…what about police training? Did he not learn anything during this? Did they not detect that he was not cop material?

Granting this enormous cinematic license, some comedy is generated by Ronnie actually doing Vikram’s job and Vikram getting the glories and even a promotion! Of course, his acts need retribution from the baddies, led by IPL (!!!!), a character played by Jaideep Ahlawat, looking uncannily like composer Pritam minus his eyewear. IPL kidnaps entire families for a super-terrorist named Abu Jalal Gaza (Jameel Khoury) and they are dispatched to Syria, where he operates a parallel government and uses them as human bombs. Such victims are from many regions of India and even Pakistan.

On the trail in Syria, with Siya, his girlfriend-cum-fiancée-cum-sister-of-Vikram’s-pregnant wife Ruchi (Ankita Lokhande), Ronnie befriends local conman Akhtar Lahori, who replaces the good old Hindi cinema Pathan of yore, a la Pran in “Zanjeer.” Thus, the golden-hearted Pakistani angle is brought in (last seen in another Shraddha Kapoor film, “Street Dancer 3D,” that tottered. We also do not know how and why Siya accompanied Ronnie and what explanation they gave Ruchi back home, when we later come to know that Siya, too, has no idea what has happened to Vikram!!

And then, of course, we have to just shut our brains and watch the spectacular action.

Certainly, that part is spectacular and even unique (Ahmed Khan—credited with Action Design—and also Ram Chella, Lakshman Chella and Kecha Khamphakdee), and the visual effects (Redefine, NY VFXWaala, Resonance Digital and Red Chillies) help the stunts whiz past a no-brainer vision similar to Hollywood biggies. As a director (he even takes credits among music directors!!), Khan does not have much to do except leave things to these team of reliables and employ 1980s-ish emotions.

The music is nothing to write home about, Vishal-Shekhar making a royal mess of their own song, “Dus Bahane’s,” re-creation. On the other hand, Tanishk Bagchi does a neat job of Bappi Lahiri’s “Ek Aankh Maaroon.” The original songs are best not mentioned in their monotonous drones, and Julius Packiam, presumably, is persuaded to go over-the-top in his background score.

Tiger Shroff does what his fans expect and love him for, but sooner or later, he will have to go beyond, unless he is happy being tomorrow’s uni-layered Dara Singh.  Shraddha Kapoor looks great and does the needful. Riteish Deshmukh acts well, but his character remains unconvincing to the end. Ankita has nothing to do, and Virendra Saxena is stereotyped, Vijay Verma is good, but both the main baddies do not look like the completely amoral beasts they are in their deeds. Jaideep looks (and even behaves in part) like a humorous simpleton and Jameel Khoury is like some sophisticated businessman from the Middle East.

Unless you are a Tiger maniac, stay away. Otherwise, the film is a no-brainer that you can watch if you have lots of spare time and money. The extra half star is for the efforts the cinematographer (Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran) and the action and VFX team have put into this rather hollow spectacle.

 Rating: **1/2

Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Fox Star Studios present "Baaghi 3"

Produced by: Sajid Nadiadwala

Directed by: Ahmed Khan

Written by: Sajid Nadiadwala, Farhad Samji, Sparsh Khetarpal, Tasha Bhambra and Madhur Sharma

Music: Bappi Lahiri, Vishal-Shekhar, Rochak Kohli, Rene Bendali, Sachet-Parampara, Ahmed Khan and Tanishk Bagchi

Starring: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Ankita Lokhande, Jaideep Ahlawat, Jameel Khoury, Satish Kaushik, Ivan Kostadinov,Virendra Saxena, Grandmaster Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj, Manav Gohil, Shriswara Dubey, Amit Sharma, Danish Bhat, Sunit Morarjee, Ayaan Zubair, Yash Bhojwani, Pradeep Kabra, Farhad Samji Sp. App.: Jackie Shroff, Disha Patani and others

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