Let off some steam, Amrit.
Find it on Einthusan.
The movie starts out breezing through thirty-two minutes of possible storyline in thirty-two seconds worth of dialogue. Colonel Sinha has just been informed that one of his helicopters has crashed into the river separating India from China and the pilot, Karan Dogra, has washed up on the Chinese side. With the helicopter nowhere in sight, the Chinese have captured Karan and are treating him like a spy. Seriously, this is thirty-two seconds of dialogue that a Bollywood movie could have stretched out to thirty-two minutes. This movie is only slightly longer than two hours, so it was not a matter of time. This choice to race through this plot confused me until later on.
There is no hard evidence that this was a training accident, but Colonel Sinha offers to provide the Chinese with records of the training exercise in hopes that they will release Karan. He tells Indiaâ€™s Defense Minister that Karan is a Commando, and goes on to explainâ€¦in ridiculously hyperbolic terms, how a Commando is worth ten thousand regular soldiers. The Defense Minister is unconvinced. The Chinese hope to use the capture of this supposed spy as a means to humiliate India and gain political leverage; the Indian government cannot risk its reputation on some documents that the Chinese will most likely dismiss as forgeries. It is better to simply deny Karanâ€™s role in the military. Karan spends a year being interrogated and tortured in a Chinese prison before it is decided that he be tried for espionage. During his transfer, Karan overpowers the three Chinese soldiers and manages to escape from the jeep as it overturns. He promptly runs into the forest and somehow makes it back to India. This is the first ten minutes of the movie, by the way.
The movie then shifts at least a hundred miles away to the town of Dilerkot. Or it is a province. Honestly, I am not sure, since the place is fictional, as far as I can tell. In any case, the Singh brothers rule the place with an iron fist. Amrit Kanwal (AK-74) Singh runs a criminal enterprise and uses his brotherâ€™s status as a Minister of Parliament (MP) to solidify his little fiefdom. While the nation is celebrating Diwali, the Singhs and a few of their henchmen head over to the Kaur family, who have been the lone group of holdouts with any influence. Amrit offers peace between the two families if Simrit will be his wife; Amrit and Simrit. Her parents seem to mull over the decision, but Simrit refuses to give into AKâ€™s romantic gestures or his threats.
Simrit runs away the next day, hoping to catch a bus to Shimla, outside of Dilerkotâ€™s borders. MP and over a dozen of his henchmen catch up to her at the bus station, but they also run into Karan, who planned on taking a bus to Pathankot where there is a military base. Karan cares neither for Simrit nor the men chasing after her, but he gets a little irritated when he finds out that the men have political connections. Karan ends up taking on MPâ€™s men, beating them up barehanded and then getting a little stabby when he snatches one of their knives.
MP manages to get away with a handful of henchmen and Karan tries to get a bus. Simritâ€¦is furious. She had hoped to beg and plead with MP to let her on the bus, but now she fears that AK will send two hundred men to find her. She demands that Karan serve as her bodyguard until they cross the border, which basically means sitting together on a bus. Simrit claims that the bus goes to both of their locations.
The bus crosses the border and Simrit is joyous, apologizing for her behavior at the bus station. This does not last very long, as AK and about twenty of his goons (yeah, not quite two hundred) have managed to get ahead of the bus and set up blockade on a bridge, preventing the bus and a few other cars from crossing. Karan fights with a few of the goons before taking Simrit and jumping off of the bridge into the river. They wash up in China. Just kidding. They get to the shore and start making their way through the forest in an attempt to make it out of AKâ€™s territory. AK is not giving up that easily, though, and sends his goons into the woods to track them down.
I am not going to sit here and pretend that this is a quality movie. I will say that it is quite entertaining, though. The movie really has two things going for it: the fight scenes and Pooja Chopra. I can agree with people who say that Bollyood action movies can be ridiculous and have goofy fight choreography. While I am not a martial arts flick aficionado, the fight scenes in this movie seem quite legitimate in my opinion. Perhaps one more versed in the genre can point out where it fails with all of the edits and whatever, but I was sold on it. Even the final fight set piece, while a little bit of a letdown in terms of quantity, made sense within the story and was impressive as its own thing. While I would not go so far as to say that Pooja Chopra was a revelation as Simrit, I feel like she did a really effective job at making what could have been an annoying character and make her fun. She is engaging when she is scared or angry, and she is utterly adorable when she is anything else. She allows Simrit to bring out the fun side in the otherwise stoic Karan and it is rather a joy to watch.
The storyline with China, which I had genuinely believed would have taken up the entire movie, is left on the backburner for a lot of the movie. I was a bit unsure why until I realized what the movie was really about. Karan may have been angry at the Chinese for torturing him for something that was simply an accident, but he was furious at the Indian government for selling him out. AK and MP may be the big baddies in the movie, but to Karan, they are just a couple of thugs amongst many evil politicians who are destroying the country from the inside. How can a country expect to stand up to external enemies when it has parasites such as these in charge? Without spoiling the movie too much, I will say that the ending of the movie takes this political statement to a level that comes across to me as probably a little darker and somewhat more disturbing than the filmmakers had intended it to be. But I accepted it, and it certainly did not bring down this fun little movie for me.
Ermâ€¦thatâ€™s it. This is a fun legitimate action movie from India. Check it out.
Next Time: About Her Brother (Japan: 2010, approx. 125 minutes)
Time After Next: Sacrifice (China: 2010, approx. 130 minutes)