Bollywood ‘Khiladi 786’ review: Akshay fails to do a Salman Khan

A typical masala movie, yet it doesn’t quite pack a punch

Ray-Ban Aviators. Check. Police uniform. Check. Handsome hero with super-hero powers. Check. Cheeky dialogues. Check. Pretty lover girl. Check. Handful of quirky supporting cast. Check. Item girl. Check.

‘Khiladi 786’ ticks all the prerequisites for a formulaic, Bollywood masala movie, yet it doesn’t quite pack a punch.

And that’s probably because the industry is already populated with many such uniformed heroes, and the audience don’t have the appetite for any more.

From Salman Khan’s Chulbul Pandey to Ajay Devgn’s Singham, to Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathore, there’s a sudden overcrowding that could in turn damage the flamboyant Bollywood cop-kitsch.

This might be Ashish R Mohan’s first as a director, yet his influences from working as an assistant director on the set of Rohit Shetty’s ‘Golmaal’ series appears unmistakable.

From manic comic situation that rely on buffoonery, there’s very little tact or intelligence that Ashish deploys to tell the story.

Bahattar Singh is a robust Punjabi lad, who dresses up as a cop and flexes his magical muscles, to help the real uniformed clan to work efficiently.

It’s a sort of charity that he, and his boisterous family of dad and uncle, indulge in.

But despite flaunting such incredible power, no girl is willing to marry him. In fact, the men’s notoriety explains their global weddings, with Bahattar’s granny being South African, mother a Canadian and aunt a Chinese.

“No Indian girl will ever marry into our family,” laments the father.

It’s this desire that is fulfilled by struggling wedding planner Mansukh Desai, who is out to redeem himself after his father throws him out of his house, and his business, for ruining his chances at hitting the 500-wedding record.

His cupid skills are put to test, as he invests his everything to connect Bahattar with an equally eccentric Indu Tendulkar, who is adamant to scare away any man other than her jailed lover.

Her brother, an infamous don Tatya Tukaram Tendulkar aka TTT, is insistent about giving Indu a “decent” life by finding a groom from a respectable family.

There unfolds a string of lies and complicated cover-ups that eventually lead into a dull, costume party.

The story written by Himmesh Reshammiya, who initially branched out from music direction to acting, is complicated and unoriginal. It’s intriguing how he refuses to give despite showing little or no talent for the unmusical.

He even writes himself a part, a supporting one thankfully, but one that he overplays to shocking levels.

Akshay Kumar’s versatility remains unquestioned. He charms, grins, frowns, angers, romances, fights and much more, all in the span of two-hours-and-twenty-minutes.

One minute he’s bashing the baddies at record speed, and the next he’s swaying to peppy Punjabi tracks. His Bahattar is an unmistakable all-rounder, like all his peers.

If there’s anything that’s unique, it’s his incredible speed, which we are told, enough number of times, is a mystery, much like “ghosts” and “true love.”

Asin remains dolled up impressively. She does attempt to do more, but the script doesn’t quite allow it.

Among the veterans, Mithun Chakraborty and Raj Babbar do their bit, but never quite excite us with their flair.

Lines by writer Bunty Rathore are shockingly unfunny, which I’d like to validate with an example.

When a senior cop insists that Bahattar show him “papers” for the release of a prisoner, he rushes out and brings back a newspaper.

“I said paper, not newspaper,” he shouts, to which Bahattar replies, “It’s the Punjab Daily, that’s what I read. If you want the Maharastra Times then please go get it yourself.”

Minutes later, he shoves a gun into the prisoner’s mouth and says, “Don’t mistake it for a toothbrush and chew on it.”

And like most Bollywood movie ‘franchises’, this movie, despite a borrowed ‘Khiladi’ title, has no reference to any of its earlier films in the 12-years since its beginning.

Understandable that ‘Khiladi 786’ is trying to play to the galleries, but unfortunately it tries way too hard.

And, considering there’ve been far too many perky cops in the past, this “cop” just doesn’t make the cut.


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