A Gentleman review: Action on safety mode

Siddarth Malhotra plays dual role in A Gentleman.  

You know there’s a problem at hand when the biggest drawback of an action film are the action sequences. In that department, A Gentlemen bites off more than it can chew. It wants to be a plush action drama, but evidently lacks resources, so settles at being a haphazardly shot ambitious film. The overarching theme and plot structure are engaging, quirky and to some extent — innovative. But between the intention and execution there’s lies a giant crater that the director duo, Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru, are trying to fill using just a ladle.

Without giving away spoilers, the film is about Gaurav and Rishi — both played by Sidharth Malhotra — who live opposite lives. Gaurav is a gentleman who plays by the rules, which Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez), his love interest, detests. Rishi, a secret agent of sorts, yearns a life that Gaurav leads. The film is palatable when Gaurav tries to woo Kavya, who like an overage millennial, confuses drama for happiness. But the parallel track of Rishi is chalky and hackneyed.

Taking place across Miami, Goa, and Mumbai, the film is so engrossed in its conceited structure that it rarely fleshes out the nuances of a scene. The movie has umpteen and apparent potential and you want to keep giving it another chance. Yet it — rather consistently — lets you down.

Dark humour, for instance, is Krishna and Nidimoru’s strong suit, as evident in their previous films like Go Goa Gone (2013) and Shor in the City (2010). A Gentleman scores some points there, but only when uninterrupted by unnecessary action sequences that do very little to take the story forward. Before yet another chase, Malhotra hands Fernandez two guns and asks, “Chalani aati hain?” (Do you know to use it?). “Of course,” she says. “It’s America”.

Having worked in the U.S. as engineers, the techies-turned-filmmakers Krishna and Nidimoru’s insights into the Indian diaspora emerge in fleeting moments of wit, but they remain far too few. Malhotra plays his part with sincerity but beyond his dashy looks and sculpted abdominal muscles, there’s little to remember. Fernandez, for the most part, is bearable.

Besides being an addition to the long list of Bollywood’s unappealing action films, A Gentleman could also be added to the exhaustible litany of Hindi movies that evoke humour by ridiculing gay men, and painting them as promiscuous and lecherous. If in 2017, we still disguise derision of queer as comedy, then there’s a lot more serious rethinking to be done.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 6:42:40 AM |

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