Sooryavanshi review: Akshay Kumar struts through a bombastic movie

The Rohit Shetty directorial is high on drama but low on plot



by

Ambica Sachin

Published: Fri 5 Nov 2021, 2:11 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Nov 2021, 12:13 PM

Men in khaki who are rarely seen in one till the assembly line bombastic end.

Paeans to Mumbai residents’ resilience following the 1993 serial bomb blasts.

Terrorists who can pass off as card-carrying members of WWF but easily get pummeled into submission by the good guys.

High octane car chases and ear-shattering bomb blasts.

And a thundering background score that won’t let you forget for a moment you are watching a Rohit Shetty cop drama, where the action precedes the storyline.

Here’s a look at how the Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer Sooryavanshi, fares in the bombastic cop universe.

Story? What story?

The plot is as hackneyed as they come.

Veer Sooryavanshi (a fit and fabulous Akshay Kumar), a member of the elite ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) headed by celebrated cop Kabir Shroff (a dapper Javed Jaffrey) is hot on the heels of a 40-member terrorist sleeper cell that has been activated after 13 long years to carry out bomb blasts with a hidden stash of RDX in Mumbai.

Sooryavanshi is assisted by a pack of assorted cops whose main duty is to snigger at their boss’s propensity to get their names mixed up. But it is only when Ajay Devgn (Bajirao, Singham) and Ranveer Singh (Sangram Bhalerao from Simmba) make their over-the-top entry into the franchise towards the end, that the action picks up.

The family drama is provided by Veer’s smouldering wife, Dr Riya (a stunning Katrina Kaif who goes in and out of operation theatres because how else would you show she is a serious medical professional) whose pet peeve is that he prioritizes police work over personal relations.

It's purely a cop’s world

There are plenty of cops to go around and kudos to the costume department for ensuring not a crease or a smidgeon of grease or blood sullies the uniforms of these heroic foot soldiers.

Granted the top brass dons khaki mainly for the grand finale, but with not a hair out of place, Ray-Bans on and polished Italian leather-clad feet, the triumvirate of Sooryavanshi, Singham, and Simbaa, could well strut down the catwalk when not pumping iron into a hoard of militants.

Action, Action and more action

They might not look it but these cops sure can pummel even the most menacing looking terrorists into submission with a few repeated blows.

The bad guys are no match naturally, because what’s the point of having villains who can outshoot or out punch the heroes in a purely black and white movie. Even a 7-foot Undertaker type muscle-heavy terrorist is no match for Singham’s mighty punches.

What’s a mass movie without a rain dance?

As is standard fare in most masala Bollywood movies, Veer and (Dr) Riya’s (more dazzling supermodel than a dutiful doctor, not to diss any of the frontlines...) romance is encapsulated within a song, which we remember mainly for how sensational she looks rather than the plotline.

Post interval when a sizzling hot, metallic sari-clad Katrina abruptly breaks into Tip Tip Barsa Pani 2.0 (de ja vu, no doubt, for Akshay who starred in the original with Raveena Tandon in 1994’s Mohra) we are not even fazed. Because by now we are used to the most unbecoming public acts from men and women in uniform.

A feast for melodrama lovers

Suffice to say there is enough melodrama here to overdose on.

While on one end of the spectrum we have a distraught Riya deliver a high pitch diatribe on how family should precede duty; the hackneyed terrorists are made to spout the usual spiel about how they have embarked on a cross-country mission, to avenge the wrongs done to them and an entire community has to endure another round of Bollywood stereotyping.

Nothing ever sticks and even a brooding Jackie Shroff or a sullen Gulshan Grover, both of who admittedly play their given roles to perfection, cannot escape the textbook dialogues and tokenisms.

Unusually for a Rohit Shetty film, even the cheesy dialogues and one-liners don’t leave an impact. It takes a Ranveer Singh to make us even chuckle with his brand of histrionics in the latter half of the movie and Ajay Devgn also is a hoot when the trio gets together in the end.

Location. location. Location.

Mumbai is of course the centrifugal force that is the target of all action. But under the pretext of chasing a lead (Sikander Kher in a blink and miss wasted appearance) we are taken on a whirlwind trip to Bangkok where there is yet another, high-speed chase and this time Akshay gets to do a wheelie on a snazzy bike and at one point there is even a car that goes flying above him.

And before you think that’s the end, without breaking a sweat he hoists himself onto a helicopter and embarks on yet another chase over choppy waters and swoops down to single-handedly make off with the culprit from a water scooter.

Even the NSG (National Security Guard) is deployed towards the end to give Shetty a chance to sign a few more cheques and put a few more helicopters in the air.

PR for Mumbai Police?

Sooryavanshi is a huge PR exercise for the beleaguered Mumbai Police who have come under attack in recent times for the most ‘un police’ like acts. But a movie that portrays them as trigger-happy khaki-clad superheroes, who revel in buffoonery, frankly doesn't do them any favours.

There are enough speeches thrown in about what constitutes a real Indian, inter-faith unity, and how terrorism impacts tourism and entertainment with a few popular names from across the border thrown in to appeal to cricket and movie buffs.

But all of them are drummed into the viewer so constantly it comes across as tokenism rather than any real effort to showcase the actual dynamics within the country.

Should you watch it?

Sooryavanshi is one of those movies where even if you snooze off midway you can bet you will still wake up to bullets flying and cars on fire.

If your idea of entertainment is guns blazing, road chases, ‘hero’ cops bumping off terrorists with not a care for collateral damage, and an item number from the lead actress, then Sooryavanshi is all for you.

And if you a true blue 'mass movie' fan and still haven’t had your fill at the end of 2 and a half hours, there is a hip-thrusting, chest-thumping, handshaking, dance number from the three cop heroes as the credits roll, you don’t want to miss.

Sooryavanshi

Director: Rohit Shetty

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Javed Jaffrey, Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


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