I don’t think I have seen a more vile start to a Bollywood film in recent times than in Commando 3. If the global Islamic terrorism trope wasn’t enough in itself, the opening scene seems bent on inciting even more hatred against the Muslims than already exists. It insinuates their possible involvement in beef politics and lynchings; utterly mischievous, more so given the current tenuous state of affairs. Is exercising restraint and responsibility too much to ask of Bollywood these days?
Here’s yet another shamefully opportunistic film that plays on the bad Muslim-good Muslim divide. Skullcaps, jihad, imaan , conversion and brainwashing the youth rests on one side. On the other hand are the “good” Muslims reduced to going on the back foot, getting defensive and going through the agni pariksha (trial by fire) to prove their loyalty to India, even as the commando hero Karanveer Singh Dogra (Vidyut Jammwal) very righteously goes about spouting homilies about how no religion is essentially bad. You know who will have the upper hand in the discourse and the accompanying right to patronise. It’s what peace talk has become in the times of hate speeches and it’s most unfortunate that Bollywood is bending over backwards to not just buy into it but also furthering the agenda.
- Director: Aditya Datt
- Starring: Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Gulshan Devaiah, Angira Dhar
- Storyline: Commando Karan has to travel to London to nab terrorist Buraq Ansari who is hell bent on doing worse than 9/11 to India
- Run Time: 134 minutes
So the wisp of a plot and done to death story is just a pretext for this vicious cause. Our hero has to nab the villain Buraq Ansari (Gulshan Devaiah) in London who threatens to do worse than 9/11 to India. Reason: the perceived wrongs done to Muslims in Kashmir, Gujarat and Ayodhya. He isn’t just misguiding the youth of his own community but even managing to convert others to Islam and being brutal as hell to his own young son. While the villain talks of Bharat ki barbadi, the commando sings hosannas for soldiers and talks about being a Bharatvadi. And in the midst of this ideological mayhem the British intelligence agency, MI, and the cops end up looking like the real bunch of idiots.
Jamwal has to look good, grind his teeth, display his buff bod and some quicksilver action chops. Devaiah plays the villain in a deliberately, and desperately, over-the-top manner. As for the two (rather three) women on the margins, well, they are as good as not being there. Ultimately everyone is subservient to and in the service of the larger sinister design and tenor of the film even as shrill jingoism continues to overstay its welcome in Bollywood.