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

August 25, 2017

Oak, meet timber

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:40 pm

August 25, 2017

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sunil Shetty, Darshan Kumar, Hussain Dalal, Amit Mistry

Directors: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna DK

In the vast cinematic wasteland where Half Girlfriend and Raabta gather fungus and hopefully wither away from our memories, there is need to make space for another stinker. That film is A Gentleman: Sundar, Susheel, Risky, although a more appropriate title might have been: A Mistake: Pointless, Overlong, Silly.

It’s particularly disheartening that this tumor dressed up to look like a film was directed by Raj Nidimoru & Krishna DK, the duo whose anarchist humor and flair for the inventive yielded such promising titles as 99, Shor in the City, and Go Goa Gone. Their last film, the Saif Ali Khan starrer Happy Ending was the cinematic equivalent of a toothache. With this one they’ve dialed up the pain to the point where watching the movie feels a lot like getting a tooth extraction but without the anesthesia. Not my idea of fun.

The plot – if you can call it that – is centered on Sidharth Malhotra, who plays both sundar/susheel and risky. He is Gaurav, a Miami-based worker drone who’s just bought his own house, traded his Mustang for a family car, and now yearns to be hitched to his pretty colleague Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez). He’s also playing Rishi, an ass-kicking, flirting-with-danger undercover agent who wants to get as far as he can from his shady boss (Sunil Shetty).

It’s a harebrained set-up and over the next 132 minutes, the makers manage to offend everyone from gays, to African-Americans, to fat people, and just about anyone with a modicum of taste and common sense. The action shifts between Miami, Bangkok, Goa and Mumbai, and you realize that the chunk of the budget that ought to have gone towards developing a solid script has been squandered on swanky locations and trimmings.

Good, charismatic actors have been known to elevate shoddy material on the strength of their charm alone. No such luck in this film, which boasts the finest quality of timber this side of the Equator. Sidharth Malhotra makes an earnest bid for credibility, throwing himself into the action scenes, but coming up short when required to underplay. In the case of Jacqueline Fernandez, her acting and her expressions are so exaggerated, it’s like watching a character in an animation film. As for Sunil Shetty, who’s returning to the screen after eons…well, let’s just say, not much has changed.

It’s the supporting cast that packs a few surprises. My favorite character in the film was Gaurav’s colleague and best friend Dikshit, whose name is routinely mangled by the Americans. Played by the terrific Hussain Dalal, Dixit gets some of the best lines in the film. Also worthy of mention is Amit Mistry who inspires many laughs as Jignesh, a Gujarati don in Miami.

But these are small mercies in a misguided film that long overstays its welcome and offers little by way of relief. The action scenes are consistently slick, but they go on and on till you’ve forgotten the point of who’s chasing whom and why. There are only flashes of Raj and DK’s off-kilter humor that powered some of their earlier films. By the time the film finally ended, I was bored and slumped over in my seat.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out five for A Gentleman: Sundar, Susheel, Risky. You have to wonder how films like this continue to get made.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

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