Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 25, 2016

Jatt in a rut

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 7:44 pm

August 25, 2016

Cast: Tiger Shroff, Amrita Singh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Kay Kay Menon, Nathan Jones, Gaurav Pandey

Director: Remo D’souza

A bumbling young fellow, bullied by a cantankerous mother, plagued by insecurities, and terrified of confrontation, is suddenly bequeathed incredible powers…only to transform into a reluctant superhero. Hell, his mum’s more excited than he is!

It’s a terrific premise, and one’s that’s ripe with potential not least because Tiger Shroff, oozing sincerity, plays Aman, a clumsy martial arts teacher who makes for a clumsy vigilante. And the eminently watchable Amrita Singh – although more shrill than even her character in 2 States – is his belligerent mum who implores him to get off his ass and go save the world.

But co-writer and director Remo D’souza squanders the opportunity to develop that idea into a fully satisfying film. Weighed down by a script bursting with clichés, an assembly line of cardboard characters, and tacky special effects and production design, A Flying Jatt never emerges the crackling homegrown superhero film it so easily could’ve been.

The film coasts along nicely when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Our superhero, afraid of heights flies embarrassingly low, and dutifully waits for the traffic light to turn green. His early attempts at crime fighting are woefully inept, and his mother thinks nothing of interrupting him mid-flight to pick up lauki from the market for dinner.

Such irreverent moments, however, are few and far between. For the most part, A Flying Jatt feels like a slog because it’s so amateurishly executed. The action scenes between our hero and the film’s (literally) growling villain, Raaka (Nathan Jones), who rises from a toxic wasteland and gives off noxious fumes, are bargain basement imitations of Rohit Shetty set-pieces. Other bits – like a time-stop sequence – are cheerfully plagiarized from Hollywood hits.

Nothing and no one is more grating on the nerves than Jacqueline Fernandez though, who plays a giggly schoolteacher and the object of Aman’s affection. Their romantic track is predictable and boring, but that’s not even the biggest problem. Jacqueline plays the part so animated and ditzy, you have to wonder if her character suffers from an attention deficit disorder.

There’s Kay Kay Menon, too, playing a greedy industrialist who will stop at nothing to forcibly acquire Aman’s ancestral land. But Kay Kay, who’s usually such a dependable actor, is the human equivalent of a ham-and-cheese sandwich here.

Unfolding over a punishing 2 hours and 30 minutes, A Flying Jatt hammers you on the head with repeated sermons about the valour of the Sikh community, and bandies on about its anti-pollution/eco-friendly agenda. These are noble ideas but they’re conveyed with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

I was also particularly surprised by a mean-spirited joke directed at an actress who makes a one-scene cameo. How cruel, to someone who’s done you a favor!

When all’s done and dusted, there’s little to recommend in A Flying Jatt. Remo D’souza fails to infuse the film with a consistent lightheartedness, and as a result the fun dries up too soon. Tiger Shroff is both agile in the action scenes and flexible in the dance numbers, but no if no but, this Jatt is stuck in a rut.

I’m going with one and a half out five.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

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