‘Ganapath’ movie review: Tiger Shroff struggles to salvage this still-born franchise

Tiger Shroff kicks and moves the way only he can, but the Vikas Bahl film doesn’t have the chutzpah to use his talent

October 20, 2023 04:44 pm | Updated 06:19 pm IST

Tiger Shroff in a still from ‘Ganapath’

Tiger Shroff in a still from ‘Ganapath’ | Photo Credit: Pooja Entertainment

Tiger Shroff is like that school student who refuses to move to college because he will miss out on the fun that the teenage years allow. This week, he is back with his double dose of action and dance for teenagers in all age groups. But in the absence of a compelling storyline and credible execution, Ganapath, largely remains a supple body without a beating heart.

Director Vikas Bahl has mounted an antiquated but ambitious idea, where in a dystopian world the haves are thriving on the labour of the have-nots. The latter, as expected, are waiting for a divine avatar to arrive to destroy the evil and take them into a new age.

Bahl, who is shifting genres with every film, has a new local superhero franchise in mind. But like Brahmastra, the makers fall into the trap of how much to reveal and how much to keep under wraps for the next instalment. In the process, the thrust of the opening salvo is compromised. The film demands some crisp popcorn stuff to service the image of the hero who wants to stick to action and dance. As Guddu, Tiger keeps saying he just wants to dance and have fun but this doesn’t translate on screen and by the time he becomes Ganapath, it’s time to draw curtains on the sagging first innings.

Ganapath (Hindi)
Director: Vikash Bahl
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon, Amitabh Bachchan, Girish Kulkarni, Jameel Khan, Rashin Roshan
Runtime: 136 minutes
Storyline: Set in a fictitious city in the future where haves trample the have-nots, a young, rakish Ganapath finds the purpose of his life and emerges as the hope of the deprived

One doesn’t usually go looking for logic in tentpoles but here the widespread mediocrity on show is baffling. The editors seem to have jagged scissors and the composer fails to get inspired by Tiger’s fluid moves. Here is a film where the villain doesn’t evoke dread and the hero doesn’t command devotion. There are portions where it seems the first draft of the script has made it to the screen.

Set in the fictitious Silvercity, Guddu works for John English (Ziad Bakri) who runs the empire for the big boss Dalini whose identity has been kept a secret till the climax. John inexplicably speaks through a chip and makes money out of staged mixed martial arts fights. Guddu spots talent for him from the deprived section. A facile misunderstanding with John forces Guddu to return to his roots and find his present (Kriti Sanon) and past (Amitabh Bachchan).

If you have the patience to scratch the surface, there is an interesting thought somewhere beneath the charade. Drawing inspiration from Lord Ganesha, Ganapath promises not just power but also prosperity to his followers. So, the MMA fights on which bets are played work like a metaphorical share market where through a shrewd move Ganapath shifts the stocks in favour of the deprived and the marginalised. But the way it plays out tests our endurance to stay in the lame game.

Some of the action in the ring evokes interest but without any compelling human drama, they fail to create any emotional upheaval. To add to the misery, the computer graphics are patently tacky. Silver City reminds one of the backdrop of the video games that children used to play in the ‘90s. One could easily sense the green curtain in several scenes.

Saddled with a half-baked character, Kriti hardly gets an opportunity to showcase her natural flair in emotional scenes, and in action sequences, she delivers some premeditated kicks. Amitabh Bachchan is clearly wasted as Dalapati, the leader of the pack, who doesn’t get to share screen space with Tiger. Bahl has opted for Rashin Rahman as Shiva, the guiding light of Ganapath in the ring. He might have been inducted to augment the film’s pan-Indian reach but their bond fails to ignite interest in the soggy backstory.

Ganapath: A Hero is Born is currently running in theatres

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