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Khiladi 786  : Welcome back, Khiladi
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Friday, December 7, 2012
Action comedy
Ashish R Mohan
Akshay Kumar, Asin, Himesh Reshamiya, Mithun Chakraborty, Raj Babbar
Akshay Kumar, the original khiladi is back, after a dozen-year gap, this time with a little more music and humour. Alongside, Himesh Reshammiya’s trademark nasal baritone also makes a comeback.

The plot: In colorful, flamboyant Tasi district, Punjab, 72 Singh ie. Bahataar Singh (Akshay Kumar) makes a grand entry impersonating a police officer, complete with the requisite khaki uniform and aviators. He bashes up smugglers and is eager to be hitched. In Mumbai, Indu Tendulkar (Asin), a bratty don’s sibling, again in a bridal wear (think Ready, Housefull 2), is busy getting rid of a groom-to-be. Witnessing this drama is Champak Desai (Himesh Reshammiya), a wedding planner-cum-matchmaker who has been ousted out of his house by his father.

Playing witness lands him in front of T T T – Tatya Tukaram Tendulkar (Mithun Chakraborty), Indu’s older brother, a don and the controlling patriarch of the family, who entrusts Champak with the responsibility of getting his sister married into a respectable family.

Champak arranges for an alliance between Indu and 72 Singh, garnishing it with lies from both sides of the family. But before the happy ending, how do you take care of several problems like the truth, Indu’s boyfriend and pesky inspectors?

The good: Akshay Kumar makes a grand entry, completely at ease in his khiladi avatar, making it clear what to expect through the length of the film. There are dollops of action at the hands of our rural hero with humans and objects flying alike. The humour of the film, neither slapstick nor vulgar, draws its laughs from its dialogues (Bunty Rathore).

The film does a good job of portraying the Punjabi spirit, complete with colour and energy with emphasis on, “Punjabi naa chhup chhap aate hain, naa chhup chhap jaate hain.” Akshay’s family is an interesting mix with an African grandmother, a Canadian mother and a Chinese aunt, and a father and an uncle named 70 Singh and 71 Singh respectively.

This khiladi, which does its job of entertaining the masses well, is likely to play a good round at the box-office as well.

The bad: At a very basic level, the film lacks a substantial story (Himesh Reshammiya). There isn’t really anything to say in the film because of which there are gaping loopholes in its logic. For example, how does Asin suddenly fall in love with Akshay Kumar after having waited for her boyfriend for so long? The music (again, by Himesh Reshammiya) isn’t anything to jump about and isn’t a potential chart-topper. Most of the songs are unnecessary.

Asin, who seems to have jumped straight from her role in Ready, disappoints with lack of variation in her character or her expressions. Himesh Reshammiya, on the other hand, tries too hard and ends up overdoing it. The film feels like a large collage of other films, sometimes through spoofs and other times unintentionally. There are ‘spoofy’ situations from Chak De! India, Devdas and Gadar, and glimpses of films like Welcome (the don’s sister angle), Singham and Dabangg peep through.

Although the film isn’t too long, the climax is stretched a tad bit and a few situations could have been done away with, for a sharper, neater finish.

Overall: Khiladi 786 is what it promises. An entertaining, humorous, action-packed no-brainer. Don’t go in with too many expectations and you’ll come out happy.

–  Nikita Periwal

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