'A Flying Jatt'
U/A; Action-comedy
Director: Remo D’Souza
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Jacqueline Fernandes
Rating:  2 stars

At the post-interval point, this film altogether delineates into an unrelated animation video on how Sardarjis are universally made fun of with “barah baj gaye” (clock turning 12) jokes. The short animation film goes deep into history to explain that the clock turning 12, in fact, refers to midnight raids that Sikh warriors used to conduct, fighting for the cause of the weak and the dispossessed-indeed a valorous act, rather than something to be lampooned. No? Yes, I suppose.

And here I’m thinking in my head, this movie was such a smooth sail up until half-time. And then, suddenly, the clock seems to have struck 12, as it were. That dipping point occurs every so often, especially in Bollywood pictures. It’s sometimes called the ‘curse of the second half’: a perfectly sorted film starts floating away into nothing. In this case, several side-tracks, disjointed scenes and sub-plots, multiple flying and fight sequences, and what have you.

Let’s backtrack a bit and stick to the good parts-the martial-arts hero, or super-hero, for one. That’s Tiger Shroff, of course. Frankly he reaffirms my logic in how Bollywood family kids quite often make it to the top more as a result of a natural advantage with knowledge of show-business and its demands, than pure nepotism alone.

Tiger, like Hrithik Roshan, had a whole lifetime to train for his pre-destined moment on the big screen. And boy, he can frickin’ move. If you look closely at his choice of scripts, aiming at the mass box-office, or even the front benchers first-Heropanti (2014), Baaghi (2016), and now this-it seems he’s been advised well on how best to move up the ladder as well.

Tiger plays the Flying Jatt, obviously. His human alter-ego is a meek sort of fellow, although a martial arts school instructor. His mom (Amrita Singh; seen after long) thinks of him as a nincompoop son of a brave dad. He gets terribly shy before his neighbourhood crush (Jacqueline Fernandes; seen so often, yet hardly getting better with her performances still).

This attitudinal contrast between the super-hero and the alter-ego is a pretty traditional trope. I guess Superman was one of those rare superheroes who was already born with powers you know him for, and hence, had to actually pretend to be meek (I gathered this from a deep conversation scene in Kill Bill 2!).

So yeah, this is as you know a super-hero movie, which by now is a pretty overarching genre. There are all kinds of super-hero movies. This is a comical one. Think Deadpool, if looking for a reference, perhaps. Bullet-proof Flying Jatt derives his super-strength from a divine tree that he hits himself against. His monstrous arch-enemy (the scarily gigantic Aussie Nathan Jones), on the other hand, feeds off pollution, since his body got bundled up at a chemical plant instead. The environmental message, apparently derived from Captain Planet, is loud and clear in this movie. And I like that.

You can also somewhat sense a franchise developing around a character who’s only being introduced through this film, while the very unpretentious choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza keeps things quite straight and simple. Which is a great start, yes.

Why do things go haywire from thereon? I can only hazard a guess, which, as always, is that the filmmakers seem to know their audiences better. Or so they inevitably assume. The basis of this super-hero film, therefore, is ‘Wahe Guru’ and Sikhism. God knows if you’re aiming for large numbers in theatres in a deeply religious country, this emotional ice-pick is likely to work.

And then this is a “Bollywood” film, which means the picture itself could be the space between songs, like news is supposed to be the hole between ads. As for the plot itself, if I got it right, we’re sitting though all this because a rich bizman in sexy metallic tie (Kay Kay Menon) wants to own a piece of land, so he can cut short the route to supply his chemical products.

Eh? Well. You know what I mean. I’m merely glad this is at least an attempt at big-screen entertainment aimed purely at kids. How many homegrown options do we have anyway? Most adults, I’m afraid, won’t give a flying duck.

Courtesy: Mid Day

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