Baaghi: Tiger burning not so bright

A poster of 'Baaghi'. Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@baaghiofficial  

Tiger Shroff makes his entry into Baaghi doing a finger stand-upside down, balancing his whole body weight on the forefinger and the thumb. The young star does pull it off splendidly but finds it difficult to shoulder the entire protracted, exhausting film on his own.

Two years down the line from Heropanti, Tiger still remains a cub when it comes to acting. For half of the film, he sports an impassive face. For the other half, he emotes with over-the-top affectations — sighs, pouts, dreamy look, wet eyes. The only time he roars is when he is sporting a shirtless, overmuscled, overbronzed, plastic body or when he is dancing and performing stunts. Yes, he is agile and athletic in his moves, breaks bones, teeth and jaws with alarming regularity and sets the blood oozing with great finesse. Tiger has the requisite rhythm and flexibility to be an ideal showcase for some graceful, aesthetic stunts but has to be content here with action that is nothing more than boring masala mayhem.

The film hangs on a plot thinner than a strand of hair: Wild, untamed boy Ronny (Tiger) is sent by his father to a Kalaripayattu guru to get trained in martial arts. Before you can say “another Karate Kid?” there’s also a Tezaab inspiration lurking in the background. On the way to the Kalari school, on the train, Ronny meets a girl Siya (Shraddha Kapoor) who he falls instantly in love with while she is singing and dancing in the rain. Unknown to the two, the villain Raaghav (Sudheer Babu) also falls for her. What’s more, Raaghav happens to be the kalari guru’s son who threatens him with lines like: “Is Ramayana mein Ram marega (Ram will be killed in this Ramayana)”.

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Sabbir Khan
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Sudheer Babu
Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes

The girl remains just a bone of contention between the two, never quite standing apart and being her own person, just giggling, dancing, playing with the raindrops and being silly.

Some action sequences are crackling but not awe-inspiring, enthralling or magical enough. The finale hand-to-hand combat turns funny in the way it gets seriously scientific. And there’s lots in between that is nothing more than just randomly strung together scenes. Like playing on the typical stereotypes of the South — dark, talking in thick accented Hindi, rolling up the mundu. To balance things out, you have a rough, rustic and loud Punjabi father (TV star Sunil Grover) too, who wants to turn his daughter into a South-Indian star. Then in the middle there is this touristy, picture postcard evocation of Kerala and its boat racing. There are filler characters on the side, Biswapati Sarkar, the popular TVF Arnab impersonator, turns hero’s buddy for a while and then just disappears from the screen for good without an explanation. Sanjay Mishra and Sumit Gulati, the cabbies in Thailand, are shoved in for a comic chase on the Bangkok streets to parallel the long, thrilling one that Ronny is on. The two are nothing more than irritating, only to take a beating from an even more irritating character, a mute child who keeps saying ya-ya.

In these days of nationalistic frenzy, Sabbir Khan throws in a token dialogue on how the Shaolin School of Martial Arts borrowed from the Indian martial art forms. One of Raaghav’s long-haired henchmen in Bangkok runs down the Indian hero by asserting that it’s the Chinese who really fight well (even while I kept assuming that the fellow was Thai), only to have the hero knock him off in one stroke and saying: “China ka maal zyada tikta nahin hai (Chinese goods don’t last for long).”

Wish the film didn’t last long either. It seemed to just go on and on.

P.S. A question that’s still playing in my head: Dear Tiger, who wears jeans for deep sea diving?

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 12:51:03 AM |

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