Reviewing the Reviews: Khiladi 786

10 Dec,2012

Khiladi 786

Key Cast: Akshay Kumar, Asin

Written By: Himesh Reshammiya

Directed By: Ashish Mohan

Produced By: Twinkle Khanna, Sunil Lulla, Himesh Reshammiya


The common belief is that a certain kind of Bollywood commercial film is critic-proof, or a Housefull 2 or Rowdy Rathore would not have succeeded. But once in a while critics must feel vindicated, when a film like Khiladi 786 comes out, thumbs its nose at anything that spells sense, and is confident of its power over the masses.


Critics pan it – with a couple of exceptions – and the ratings hover between 1 and 2. This film is not likely to hit the 100-crore mark, and it’s not because of the reviews; the audience got sick of having garbage thrown at it.


Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express rants, “There is, of course, no plot. The attempt is to piggyback on the Khiladi brand that belongs to Akshay, marrying it to the currency of Chulbul from Dabangg. But when Akshay turns to us at the start of the film, having finished with a fight sequence, and declares – ‘The Khiladi Is Back’, I didn’t hear any clapping, though I did hear a few obligatory titters at the most distasteful parts (Akshay doing blackface is one). Lower the denominator as much as you want, you will always get some laughs. In the end, I was left looking at a straw to clutch. Any little thing. I found, dear viewer, none. Not. A. One.”


Anupama Chopra of The Hindustan Times was unimpressed too, “All through, the funny bits were rare and mostly unintentional. Akshay swaggers above this messy material, which includes African-American characters and dancers in blackface. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I would have been offended. Box office figures suggest that many people enjoy this school of cheerfully moronic cinema, but Khiladi 786 really isn’t my idea of a good time.”


Rajeev Masand of IBNLive commented, “Directed by first-timer Ashish Mohan, an erstwhile assistant of Rohit Shetty, Khiladi 786 is funny, but only in spurts. For the most part, it’s as enjoyable as watching a kitten struggle to shake off the firecracker that some mean kid tied to its tail. If you laugh, they’re probably guilty laughs – how can you be amused by such cruelty? At the receiving end of writer Himesh Reshammiya and director Ashish Mohan’s tasteless sense of humor are dwarves, handicapped people, and particularly foreigners who’re reduced to embarrassing racial stereotypes.”


Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV was left cold. “Khiladi 786 has nothing new to offer. It is cut from the same cloth that has yielded many of Akshay Kumar’s recent vehicles. These films have sought to cash in on his rough and rowdy screen persona. Khiladi 786 does more of the same. In short, it is another outright assault on the senses. The comedy is crass, the acting borders on the slapstick, and the general air that hangs over the film is one of utter lunacy. The loudness is accentuated manifold by a ear-splitting background score.”


Shubir Rishi of gave it a low half star and wrote, “Debutant director Ashish R Mohan does try, but everything becomes dim and dull because of a really weak script, with unacceptable dialogues which are constantly in bad taste, and a single-finger synthesizer which is utilized for filling in as background score. This is no Rowdy Rathore, folks, this is just a gimmick. True, they did infuse it with a lot of other delightful innuendos, and some reference to comic books, but at the same time, ruined with unclever lines and expectant looks. This is a wannabe funny movie, an assault on our collective intellect.”


Nandini Ramnath on Livemint commented, “The anything-goes movie is packed with so many random characters and even more random jokes that moments of inspired humour emerge out of the hodgepodge. Bahattar Singh, his father (Raj Babbar) and uncle (Mukesh Rishi) pretend to be policemen to impress the other side, as do Indu’s brother TTT (Mithun Chakraborty) and his hoods. A police inspector who is locked away for threatening to spill the beans loudly protests his treatment, saying he will “complain to Kejriwal”. The rest of the time, much of Bunty Rathore’s dialogue depends on rhyming words for laughs (bayko, the Marathi word for wife, is matched with psycho; Sikh with seekh kebab). It’s hardly enough to sustain the running length of 2 hours and 20 minutes, but you might just find yourself occasionally sniggering without meaning to.”


Shabana Ansari of DNA observed, “Khiladi 786 is the kind of movie that critics pan and audiences lap up. Bahattar (72) Singh (yes, that is really Akshay’s name in the film) beats villains black and blue and makes walls crumble with just a single punch! What he can’t do is find himself a bride because of his reputation. When an out-of-work matrimonial agent (Himesh) offers to get him hitched to Indu (Asin), the spoilt sister of an underworld don Tatya Tendulkar (Mithun), both families pretend to come from respectable backgrounds. What ensues is as unbelievable as Akshay lip-syncing to Himesh’s songs.”


Did anyone find any merit in the film? TOI’s Madhureeta Mukherjee did. “Debutant director Ashish R Mohan’s masala potboiler style is unmistakably reminiscent of his guru, Rohit Shetty’s films. There are flying cars, flying bodies, flying fists and a flying Singh too. He shows flair for comedy, but for a film titled Khiladi, it lacks hard-core action, heat and the adrenalin rush that is synonymous with Akshay’s Khiladi series (maybe intentionally). With a feel of hip-hop, rap, rock and our good ‘ol Burmanda, Himesh’s music pumps life and energy into the story. For those looking for some logic-less laughtime, groovy tunes topped with some todh-phodh – this one could bring some action to your weekend.”


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