An Action Hero
Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the lone Hindi theatrical release this weekend, An Action Hero starring Ayushmann Khurrana in his 2.0 Avatar and Jaideep Ahlawat. We have often been criticizing Bollywood for churning out remakes after remakes, a testimony in the year 2022 wherein many films haven’t worked. But out of nowhere came Drishyam 2 that single handedly began to bail Bollywood out of the rut. Drishyam 2 was one of the rare remakes/adaptations that have worked this year and I was really happy for its success.
Having said that, this may not be the best piece of news for the Industry and the Audiences, and I say this with utmost respect that the success of Drishyam 2 might be a curse in disguise as it will prompt more filmmakers to go the remake route especially when an equally exceptional film Bhediya did not perform as well in the following week. For anyone who has been harping about Bollywood not making original films needs to support films like Bhediya which are original. And so with that sentiment, I had high hopes from An Action Hero because it seemed like a fresh concept wrapped in a commercial entertainer. Yet, when it did not get the desired opening, I was a bit shell shocked. So through this review, this is my humble request to support such films(and support all films in general), only then will we as an audience get films with an original content, something that we deserve. So with that here are my two cents on An Action Hero.
Story & Screenplay
An Action Hero follows the story of an action hero who in a turn of events ends up being on the run after committing an accidental murder. On his tail is a dangerous nemesis who will stop at nothing. Will he survive? The story is a perfect contemporary satire packaged as an enjoyable action entertainer. The screenplay standing at roughly 135 minutes makes for a pleasantly entertaining watch.
The drama does open with an extended flashback featuring the protagonist who is like every other superstar, self consuming and full of himself. You instantly get a proper demarcation between the real and reel lives of the industry through a stunning sequence which was a meta reference in itself(just as the film). The fun begins when the protagonist accidently commits a murder of his fan who happens to have political connections. From here on, the film is a right concoction of entertainment, daek humour and silliness.
The drama is very smartly penned with the right doses of humour which is so well integrated in the drama. You have a bunch of TV Hosts screaming on top of their lungs which makes for a hilarious viewing. The drama is edgy in many ways, it doesn’t follow a single trajectory as far as the genre of it is concerned. So the thrill element is constantly in play but laced with dark humour at the same time that makes for an enjoyable watch. The satire here is evident in so many scenes that made me realise how self aware the writers here were. There are jokes on Boycott Bollywood and the circus of the media fueling the movement in the most bizarre manner, something that is aptly shown here.
A slight criticism that I had was in the convoluted style of narration which marginally takes the shine off the drama. Yet, the proceedings are thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable with never a dull moment. There is always something that is transpiring onscreen. The twists and turns in the screenplay are pretty interesting. The events leading up to the final act are outrageous in a very good way where a quieky twist of fate for the protagonist found me laughing hysterically. As the bodies begin to pile up, your laughter quotient is constantly on the ascend leading up to the final act which is neatly tied up. A subtle punch is thrown at the media and brilliantly so at the end. In other words, the screenplay is one of the best contemporary satires that I have witnessed all year!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and very self aware of what they are trying to communicate. So even though the drama is somewhat serious, the situational comedy finds its way to put a smile on your face. The music is pretty good here. There was a bit of criticism about the songs being recycled here as well, however they are smartly integrated in the drama. The BGM is absolutely brilliant and perhaps the unsung heroes of the film. Some of the most breathtaking and exhilarating action sequences(choreographed and shot brilliantly) are backed with a powerful BGM that keep you at the edge of your seat. Director Anirudh Iyer makes a banger of a debut here with this smart yet stylized action entertainer. The fact that this did mold and bend the rules of the action genre was heartening and honestly terrific to witness. And for that the director deserves a fair share of the accolades.
The performances are brilliant here. Girish Sharma as the news anchor is yet again hilarious and makes for an enjoyable act. Harsh Chhaya as Roshan has his moments to shine. Neeraj Madhav is natural to the core despite a limited screentime. The cameo by Akshay Kumar is outstanding and hysterically funny! Vaquar Shaikh as Kader also makes his presence felt.
But the show belongs to the two brilliant performers – Jaideep Ahlawat and Ayushmann Khurrana. Jaideep Ahlawat is a wonderful actor and here as Bhoora he is aptly cast. The level of intensity that he brings to his role with a dash of humour was something to be cherished and studied in what was a towering act! And I am the happiest for Ayushmann Khurrana as he is on experimental mode in his 2.0 Avatar!. As Maanav, he is seen doing action for the first time and he really excels in it. The comic timing is also on point and quite effortless in so many scenes. I really wish he continues to experiment irrespective of the fate of the film. This was a refreshing act and differently approached as well!
An Action Hero is a brilliant contemporary satire packaged as an enjoyable action entertainer. I am giving an additional half star here simply to encourage more number of people to give it a watch. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!