Disclaimer: Mild Spoilers ahead
Tiger Shroff entered the list of potential actors after his debut in Heropanti and Shraddha has been delivering one hit after the other since 2013 film Aashiqui 2. Though she is not an extraordinary actress, Shraddha has the potential to bring about apt emotions with her eyes and gestures. When I read about Baaghi’s success, I was quite surprised as the trailer itself presented a predictable over-the-top action movie. After watching the trailer, I understood that the movie is based on a simple yet commonly used theme; a girl is kidnapped and her male friend is the only hope she has to be saved as the villain is… errr… a super villain. Even then, the trailer presented the plot in a very misleading manner. Shraddha’s character was shown as the main lead or the main rebel who met her equal in Tiger Shroff’s character. We see her doing serious action and it is not something that we see a lot in Bollywood films, especially the ones that deal with hyper-masculinity. The trailer was too misleading in that manner.
The movie is all about Rony (Tiger Shroff) and his days as a student of a renowned Kalaripayattu teacher (Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj) in Kerala. He happens to meet Siya (Shraddha Kapoor) and fall in love with her. It is never told anywhere in the film that Siya is a rebel since birth. 😛 Raghav (Sudheer Babu), son of Guruji and world champion in martial arts, happens to see Siya cheering for his team during annual boat racing competition and falls in love with her. Convenient right? In fact, he was obsessed with her, so obsessed that he ends up killing all those who tried to stop including his father. No matter how baleful or malevolent the villain is, the idea of a child killing his/her own father is hard to digest, not to mention, Raghav is not presented in *that* adverse manner. But Rony wouldn’t fall to his pleas and after seeing his determination, Raghav decides not to kill him, instead he plants a seed of misunderstanding in Siya’s mind and they separate eventually. Well, Raghav killed his martial arts expert father by poisoning him, why not do the same to Rony instead of going physical with him, and wouldn’t that be easier? This is all presented in flashback and the real plot deals with Siya being kidnapped from a movie set by Raghav and his men. Her father approaches Rony for help. Rest of the deals with Rony’s attempts to save Siya.
Overall, the movie has all the typicals…
- A damsel in distress.
- A super villain.
- A multitalented hero.
- Hero gets beaten at one point only rise and defeat the villain.
- Hero accomplishes an impossible task.
- The bad guy making big speeches before hitting the hero, only to end up defeated due to the timing.
- One of the villain’s accomplices siding with the hero, the only good aspect.
- Over the top action.
- Unnecessary song sequences in between intense situations, affecting the flow of the story.
- Hero finds out that the villain killed his mentor, this fumes him up.
- Several well built plotlines, left unexplained at the end; like, did Rony and Siya confront her father Khurana (Sunil Grover) for creating the misunderstanding between them. Did Rony receive the money from Siya’s producer to have the operation for the mute boy. Did Siya return to her movie set? Did the producer finally wrap his movie up?
But, inspite of all the flaws, there are some elements that makes Baaghi better as a movie from its genre. The filmmakers intended to create a martial arts movie, so they made a convenient plot to match up. As long as they presented the fight sequences in an adept manner, the rest of the plot don’t matter to them. As a fan of marital arts myself, I enjoyed the fight scenes and Shroff nailed it from his part with smart and quick moves. It was like revisiting one of the Chinese classics which I enjoyed. Unlike the Chinese martial arts films, this movie added bit of slapstick (unnecessary) comedy, romanctic (cheesy) situations and a mild (incomplete) backstory. And, there are racist moments notably “Chinese stuff don’t last long”. Really Sabbir Khan? Nadiadwala? India might not have had a good relationship with China but should we glorify it with racism in our movies? We have demoralised Africans (Fashion) and Chinese are the next target? Kalaripayattu is explained as the origin of Kung Fu. Maybe, but Kung fu has been refined over the years and in this movie seemingly it is shown as an inferior sport compared to Kalari. As much as I want Kalari to survive and reach outside India, this form of racist competition was demeaning. I have no idea how many times I face palmed when the Chinese guy and Rony threw Racial slurs at each other. In terms of performances, the lead actors were poor. Tiger Shroff could hold on to the tough action hero look but his romance, comic timings and emotional scenes were only average. He do not have his father’s talents. He was taken just because of his martial arts and daring to do difficult stunts. Shraddha Kapoor impressed earlier in Aashiqui 2, Haider and Ek villain, but she failed completely in this movie. She was both annoying and underacting at times. And the make-up and hairstyle ould leave her alone. Her hair is perfectly intact wherever she in; hospital, during a fight and after the kidnapping. Shraddha and Shroff lacked proper chemistry as well. But her attempts to do fight scenes with impressive punches and kicks should be appreciated though it left a major plothole. In one of the scenes, Siya is held up by Raghav’s guards while others beating up Rony. If she was skilled enough to fight off 5 armed at once, as per the climatic fight, then she and Rony could have fought off those men and escaped. Not to mention, Rony didn’t have go on and fight an army, all alone. The overall acting is poor, except for Shifuji Shaurya Bharadwaj, who playted Guruji. He was controlled in his role. The movie executed incredible cinematography which made the fight scenes look impressive. The background score was annoying at times. The songs are good but unnecesary.
Overall Baaghi is just an average entertainer which can be viewed if you are with enthusiastic friends or for the sake watching the action. The success of the film have propelled the producers to for a sequel, and as always the heroine will be different as they are reduced to a ruse as always.
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