Reviewing the Reviews: Rowdy Rathore

04 Jun,2012

By Deepa Gahlot


Producer: Ronnie Screwvala, Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Director: Prabhudheva

Music: Sajid-Wajid

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, others


These days, most critics have nothing against mainstream cinema. But Rowdy Rathore is the kind of film that has the mildest of then gnashing their teeth in frustration, because the success of such a bad and old-fashioned film is inevitable.


The masses want mindless entertainment even today, they don’t care how loud, crass or silly the film is; does it give them their money’s worth?  For the non-massy types, such films are a kind of guilty pleasure.  What shocked most is that Sanjay Leela Bhansali is partly responsible for unleashing this on the public.


Except for Taran Adarsh’s 4 and The Times of India’s now-standard 3 stars, everybody else tossed between 1 and 2. Writes Adarsh, with an eye firmly on the ticket windows of single screen cinemas. “On the whole, Rowdy Rathore, is designed to magnetize the masses in hordes. The accurate blend of action, emotions, drama and humor, besides a superlative performance by Akshay Kumar, makes this motion picture an immensely pleasurable and delightful movie watching experience. If you savour typical masaledaar fares, this one should be on your have-to-watch listing for certain. Dhamaal entertainer!”


Srijana Mitra Das of the TOI gushes, “Indeed, Rowdy Rathore pays homage to iconic filmi characters – identical heroes, golden-hearted chors, brave Men in Brown beating evil people to pulp. However, it pays most homage to its own star, Akshay Kumar, who pulls off Shiva with style but Vikram less so, possibly because all that violence overwhelms acting itself. Not that the crowd seemed to mind. As Shiva exhorts a woman raped by Baapji’s son to beat him up, the girl next to me cried, “Why doesn’t she?” Her neighbour replied, “She will.” And she did – much to the crowd’s Rowdy delight.”


Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave it 2 stars and commented, “Rowdy Rathore is a shrill action flick designed to help Akshay Kumar return to his hit-making ways. Accept that obvious intent and you might actually end up enjoying certain parts of the film against your own better counsel. Isn’t that the effect that many a Bollywood potboiler of the 1980s would have on us? Yes, Rowdy Rathore employs narrative elements that hark back to a bygone era of Bollywood potboilers: two men who look like each other without any apparent reason, a bunch of baddies that snarl and snap at the slightest provocation and indulge in rape and pillage with abandon, and the good old back-from-the-dead revenge seeker who goes back dispensing rough-and-ready justice.”


Two stars from Raja Sen of”Inured to the kind of exploding-beedi violence promised by the trailer, the film instead starts stupid and stays silly. This is much more like an early Khiladi movie — where Kumar recklessly got away with anything, goofily stumbled towards the climax and then proceeded to kick bottom without mercy — than any of the recent films which have completely forsaken plot. As a result, it’s far less objectionable. Still moronically stupid and entirely pointless, but nowhere near as horrid as what the genre’s been reduced to in the last couple of years.”


Shubhra Gupta goes with 2 stars as well, “We don’t have to be told that this is a remake of a Telugu film. It could have been in mainstream Tamil or Kannada. Because whether it is Priydarshan or Prabhudeva (who has directed this one), the film is bound to have South Indian actors trying to pass off as North Indian. Fictional towns which look as if they’ve been created on a set. Blinding colours. Songs at the drop of a hat. Dialogues which don’t go beyond a line. Or two. And a leading lady whose job description is, apart from possessing a swaying ‘kamariya’.. um, let me think about it.”


Now come the one star rants. Anupama Chopra writes, “Don’t Angry Me! Akshay Kumar bellows this often in Rowdy Rathore. At one point, the command even plays out as background music. I think viewers need to co-opt the line. To all the directors, producers, actors who are inflicting eighties-style, low-IQ, deafeningly loud, unapologetically crass, mind-numbing movies on us, I just want to say: Don’t angry me! Don’t exhaust me! Don’t bludgeon me!”


Rajeev Masand comments, “Rowdy Rathore is the kind of movie that’s made by people with a cash register in place of their brain. Because no legitimate reason, other than financial gain, can justify why this movie was made – it has no story or plot whatsoever, the characters are entirely forgettable, and it’s so long and loud and silly that the laughs dry up early on. That the film has such impressive pedigree – it’s produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, directed by Prabhudeva, and stars Akshay Kumar – is both baffling and shameful.”


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