Reviews

Gabbar is back: A corrupt influence

An image from the movie, Gabbar.

An image from the movie, Gabbar.   | Photo Credit: 02dmcGabbar1

Making Gabbar the hero is a strong statement on the times we live in but the kind of vigilantism that the film casually promotes is dangerous.

Gabbar is back under the direction of Krish. It sounds like some superhero combo. It indeed is. Krish has given Gabbar the power to reduce the corrupt forces in the society to pulp. Gabbar is a teacher, an aam aadmi called Aditya, who teaches gravity and then defies it by bouncing the bribe seekers and their mentors against the ground when he is pushed into a corner by the corrupt system.

The film talks of corruption but it doesn’t hesitate to utilise a cult character and his timeless punch-lines to further its interest. It couldn’t resist the stock item number either. As a result the high moral ground that it takes quickly dwarfs. Like any other mass entertainer it aspires to milk people’s discontent by providing poetic justice in two hours flat.

Making Gabbar the hero is strong statement on the times we live in but the kind of vigilantism that the film casually promotes till the climax is dangerous. A remake of Tamil hit Ramanaa, the tone is obviously sledge hammer where everything is overemphasised and exaggerated. In the original it was Vijaykanth, here a bearded Akshay Kumar is the captain of the ship. Akshay literally towers everybody in the film and his earthy swagger reflects even in a romantic number. It might irritate the discerning but for the fans of Khiladi Kumar it is the ultimate kick.

The original was written and directed by A.R. Murugadoss. He is the creative force responsible for a smooth transition of masala flicks from south to north with films like Ghajini and Holiday. Here you can sense his shadow for all the high voltage drama emanates from realistic issues. The comment on rampant corruption in private hospitals is loud but topical. And the inherent message – we have to act against the corrupt present in our families and immediate neighbourhood to prevent the rise of a Gabbar – does ring a bell.



Gabbar is back

Genre: Action/Drama
Director:Krish
Cast:Akshay Kumar, Shruti Haasan, Suman Talwar, Jaideep Ahlawat, Sunil Grover
Bottomline: It has come at a time when the remake business has touched a plateau. Had it come in its infancy, Gabbar would not have sounded like babble.


Unlike Murugadoss, Krish fails to keep the momentum going. The script cries for an update. In 2002, when the original hit the screens, the villain could openly boast about his illegitimate links in the system but these days his bragging is recorded as a proof against him. There are barren stretches where screeching background sound and Suman Talwar fail to provide a solid counterpoint. He is too cold for a film brimming with colour. Rajat Arora has given him interesting punch-lines to please the galleries but still he proves no match for Akshay who wins the duel hands down with his high-pitched performance. Jaideep Ahlawat and Sunil Grover do justice to their limited roles as policemen out to hunt Gabbar with the brief that Akshay should not be touched. However, the track between Shruti Haasan and Akshay fails to provide the fireworks. Shruti has an endearing screen presence but is short changed by a stock character graph of a bubbly girl who doesn’t know what the man in her life is up to. Similarly, the flash back with Kareena Kapoor is treated with a heavy hand. It is too glossy to create an emotional catapult for the audience to side with Gabbar. No such problems when it comes to using Chitrangadha Singh, as Krish creates an item song which will leave the target audience swooning.

However, despite all the reminders of subversion that he is Gabbar and not Gandhi what one really misses is the moral dilemma of a teacher who involves his students in a mission where the corrupt are hanged from the lamp posts without any judicial probe. Nobody asks him why is he turning his personal revenge into a mass movement without knocking at the doors of court and the media? From creating his own code name to the modus operandi to deciding his fate, Gabbar decides everything on his own reducing it to a one-man show. It is one thing to unleash one-man army on a larger than life villain but quite another on something as real as corruption. We have seen the implications during recent events.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2020 12:05:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/gabbar-is-back-a-corrupt-influence/article7161747.ece

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