Reviewing the Reviews: Holiday gets 1.5-2.5 stars

09 Jun,2014

By Deepa Gahlot

 

Holiday

Directed by: A.R. Murugadoss

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Govinda, others

 

The remake of Tamil hit Thuppaki by AR Murugadoss (best known for Ghajini) was, as expected, slaughtered by critics, with 1.5 to 2.5 star ratings.  The general opinion was that the Southern masala has been overdone, but Akshay Kumar somehow pulls it off. Sonakshi Sinha came in for a bit of battering for playing yet another dumb bimbo. Some reviewers complained of boredom, a slow pace and the absolutely nonsensical plot.

 

The film has Akshay Kumar playing an armyman, whose holiday is spent tracking ‘sleeper cell’ terrorists in Mumbai and/or romancing the girl, who seems to do nothing except playing every sport known to humankind, in the course of one song.

 

Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express commented, “‘Holiday’, the official remake of the monster Tamil hit ‘Thuppaki’, gives Akshay Kumar a chance to return to full combat mode. He plays a patriotic soldier willing to stretch a few rules in the line of duty, whether it is wielding sharp shears on a suspect’s finger, or shooting bad guys point blank. Till he’s going bang bang, he’s all right; the moment he gets romancing and joshing, he slides. So does the film.”

 

Shubha Shetty Saha of mid-day was rather kind. “The film can boast of a fairly intelligent script that doesn’t allow the narration to get predictable even for a moment. More importantly, it respects the intelligence of the audience and leaves some bits for their imagination, without getting into the rigmarole of spoon-feeding them with justifications. Director AR Murugadoss keeps the ongoing events taut and gripping through the almost three hour duration of the film. There are some particularly good action scenes, which might let you forget the popcorn in your hand for more than ten minutes.  That, I think, is quite an achievement.”

 

Sarita Tanwar of dna found some good things about the film and some bad. “There’s two ways to do an ‘army’  film. One is about war, tragedy and human loss. Another one is to make it like a secret agent/spy thriller. This one goes the other way but lacks the pace that is needed to keep the viewer interested. Yes, it is a remake of a hit Tamil film, but there was a lot of room for improvement. The songs are catchy but you wish the director had considered if it was really needed in a film like this. You keep wishing it was more real. It’s the frills that dilute the film.”

 

Rajeev Masand of IBNLive wrote, “That this film is still not as awful as most typical Akshay Kumar starrers, despite several such harebrained sequences, is to the credit of director AR Murgadoss, who doesn’t let something as insignificant as common sense come in the way of telling a convenient story. In Holiday, Murgadoss remakes his own Tamil hit Thuppaki and he doesn’t tinker with the blueprint at all. – Madhureeta Mukherjee with typical Times of India gush wrote, “While the core plot is compelling and finely directed, the side-tracks – like bombs needing to be deactivated and the romantic angle, waste screen-time and the songs infiltrate the plot too often. The film is too long and needs a taut edit. It has flaws too, but doesn’t fail to entertain. Akshay’s stunts are jaw-dropping; he’s in top form and impressively leads the show without much support from his squadron of actors. Farhad (the lead villain) doesn’t leave much impact; and Sonakshi slides in for the song and dance.This one applauds the jawans who live in the jaws of death, and is a ‘wake up’ call for all the ‘sleepers’ that abound. Bravo!”

 

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV.com was not enthused. “Holiday lacks the sustained intensity and urgency of an edge-of-the-seat spy thriller. The script does not allow Akshay Kumar to be the no-nonsense action hero that would have held the film in better stead. His lover boy act only dilutes the larger-than-life persona of the fearless and single-minded mean machine that he is supposed to be.Akshay strives hard to make the most of a bad deal. He wins a battle or two, but loses the war.”

 

Raja Sen of Rediff.com found it boring. “Holiday calls itself a thriller.  And indeed there is a thumping background score and much, much malarkey about sleeper cells and terrorists. In the middle stands Akshay Kumar, with unfortunately flat hair, holding a Rubik’s Cube, and making what appear to be very random assumptions. He’s ridding Mumbai of the scourge of terrorism, and good for him. Because these are simple action movie setups that, despite their harebrained processes, can lead to slick enough thrillers. Except Holiday ticks in slow-motion.”

 

Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu, who had seen the Tamil version wrote, “You know you are getting a crash course on sleeper cells when your sleep cells are activated listening to gems of dialogue like: “All the sleeper cells will become coma cells”. Most of the laughs come unintentionally in the climax when the annoyed deputy villain gets bored of the unending action sequence between the hero and the villain (the remake sorely misses Vidyut Jamwal) and tells his men: “Shoot them both”.

Modern terrorism is not about guns and bombs. Bombs only destroy bodies. Films like Holiday destroy minds.

If there is any justice left in this world – or a God – this is the kind of pop culture terrorism that should rightfully bomb.”

 

Nandini Ramnath of Mint analysed: “Holiday is to Thuppakki what Ghajini was to Ghajini-a mostly faithful Hindi remake of a Tamil blockbuster. A.R. Murugadoss’ entertainer displays greater fidelity to its source than did his Ghajini reboot, down to the bloated running length of 170 minutes. The situations are the same, the dialogue is translated verbatim and the heroine hasn’t yet grown a brain, but the Hindi version misses out on the charisma of its leading man. Holiday’s Akshay Kumar is a poor match for Tamil superstar Vijay, who has built a career out of supplanting average acting skills with practised insouciance. Thuppakki translates into loaded gun, but although Kumar is gifted with a crowd-pleasing script and ample room to showcase his fighting skills, he is altogether slower on the draw.”

 

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