Friday, June 1, 2012

Movie Review: Rowdy Rathore


If Anil Sharma ever gave a movie-making contract to a bunch of drunken teenage boys, it might look something like Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathore. Because this film is as funny as tuberculosis.

Five minutes into Rowdy Rathore, you begin to suspect that everyone associated with this film had been under the influence of very high grade marijuana while producing it. Passed off as ‘humor’ are scenes like a thief raiding a house with a poori in his mouth, and making the owner of the house bite it; or a female cop taking her cap off and dancing mischievously after our hero sprays deodorant on himself. It is a movie made by people who laugh at their own jokes, made for people who will laugh at anything. And at the helm is star Akshay Kumar, whose comedy here is not just endured, but feels like spending twenty four hours with an inebriated, stoned bore who thinks he's being funny by constantly making faces. It almost seems like he was upset to be the last guy at the Tollywood Remake Buffet Table, following Salman, Aamir and Ajay Devgn.  

The ‘story’ would seem outdated even if the film released during the stone age - Shiva (Akshay Kumar) is a smalltime bandit who falls for Priya (Sonakshi) and stumbles across a little girl, the daughter of his doppelganger policeman Vikram Rathore and crosses paths with a gang of hoodlums from a Bihar village who are after Rathore. Of course any semblance of a story makes way for sloppy narrative, vulgar lines, tedious attempts at slow-mo fighting and jokes that seem to date from before South remakes turned Bollywood into a cottage industry. Even the two gags that are mildly funny have a smug, take-it-or-leave-it tone that makes giving a damn about anything on screen seem impossible. 

Writer Shiraz Ahmad stoops to using Sonakshi Sinha’s bare tummy as a stand-in when he runs out of the hollow little skits. And then he brings in the most achingly clich├ęd pan-chewing women-raping sweaty goondas from the 80’s, the ones who’d make even the lyricist of the song ‘Daloonga Daloonga’ roll his eyes. During one scene a police officer (Yashpal Sharma, in a horrendous role) goes with his kids to a smarmy goonda (Nassar) to beg him to return his wife who is held as a sex slave by the goon’s deranged son. And as the woman is displayed in front of everyone by the chest-scratching baddie, the goonda promises to let her go in two days, after which he throws his head back and laughs. That is as classy as it gets. On the plus side, at least director Prabhudheva doesn’t subject us to full-on shots of women being brutally molested by sniggering men in Leopard skin underwear. It's a small mercy, but a mercy nonetheless. 

What's most appalling is that the filmmakers felt the need to make this pungent mound of toxins run for more than two and a half hours, as if they actually have something to say. But all I saw in between the Akshaygasms was a torrential rain of paychecks and a distasteful disregard for entertainment. Mindless masala movies can be fun but Rowdy Rathore presents a cinematic devolution that yammers on endlessly and insultingly. A real crook would steal your money and then walk away, but producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali and co seem to be content to first take your money and then clobber you until you are reduced to a dead nubbin with your ticket floating in a pool of your blood. 

Director Prabhudheva has electrifying energy but he seems to use it to mask his shortcomings. Sonakshi is not horrible - which for her is a real step up. She looks seductive (and butch) while holding a plate of laddoos and behaves like Malvika Tiwari in Chamatkar. A nice change from Akshay Kumar who sounds like he is falling asleep.

If Bollywood has another opportunity to remake a Ravi Teja film (that sound you hear is me twirling a mala of divine beads, praying that doesn’t happen), maybe it should only have each actor simply sitting around drinking tea. After Wanted and Singham I have yet to understand what makes them so profitable, and if Rowdy Rathore is the type of filmmaking we can expect from Bollywood in the future, maybe the 2012 apocalypse isn’t such a bad choice after all. 


56 comments:

  1. i fully agree with ur review but acc to me Sonakshi was the bad choice for this movie,even though heroine role in movie was just filler.
    Anushka shetty could do the role better,atleast she is much better than balloon "Sonakshi".

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  2. "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."

    You know whose name I recalled when I heard these lines? Yours, Mr. Fadnavis. Nothing establishes the truth in these lines like your reviews do. Most of the films you pan here do well, what does that tell you?

    Let me guess: That the people who go out to watch these movies are idiots who have not a semblance of grey matter in the hole they call their brain. That the people whose hard work makes these movies are well funded nincompoops who wouldn't know class if it came and hit them in their balls.

    Well, you are wrong. The truth is that you are out of touch. Out of touch with the audience for these movies, out of touch with Hindi films that do not pretend to have that touch of class and out of touch with the bulk of India in general. Your biases come through in your writing as well.

    One sound advice would be to stop writing reviews for these blatantly brainless, as funny as TB commercial films and write on world cinema and hollywood stuff.

    God knows, since you are biased that way, you will be able to find more cinematic magic in Terrence Mallick's poop than you will find in movies directed by a lowbrow director like Prabhudeva.

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  3. I was taking your comment seriously and was ready to put forth my arguments.. until I read 'Terrence Malick's poop'. Cheers.

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  4. Don't be so offended, Mr. Fadnavis.

    If I comment here again, perhaps I'll refer to excrement in a classier way. I may also refer to some classy angrezi director's classy excrement in a classier way. Oh and sorry for spoiling the sanctity of your comment thread with a misspelling.

    Cheers to you too.

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  5. Mihir,

    Whenever you review one of these masala potboilers, you always end up saying 'I dont hate masala movies, but this one is shit'. My bone of contention here is whether you actually go in to watch these movies with a clean slate, or whether you've already decided that the 'XYZ movie is a load of nonsense and there's no point reviewing it, but I'll do it anyways'. If it's the latter, you've pretty much made up your mind even before entering the cinema hall, haven't you? No masala movie will stand a chance if you've made up your mind you're going to pan it because rather than actually reviewing such a movie you're probably spending three hours searching for mistakes,looking for minute plot loopholes and scouring for bad acting.

    Again, this is not about Rowdy Rathore per say, but I've noticed this trend whenever you're reviewing a movie which caters to the sensibilities of the masses and not of the refined, 'classy' moviegoer. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Thanks.

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  6. "behaves like Malvika Tiwari in Chamatkar" ROFL....

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  7. Have read some 5 reviews of Rathore till now and all 5 have 4+ rating .. And u give it 1and half .. Interesting thing .. Either u are wrong person for this sort of movie or all the other reviewers are paid reviewers or people who accept masala cinema ..

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  8. Aditya, it's understandable that you think I hate all masala movies. I assure you that's not the case. Just recently I watched and loved the Telugu movie 'Gabbar Singh' - that's as commercial masala as one can get. I didn't review that film, but I'd tweeted a lot about it.

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  9. LeMediator, I am not offended. It's just that I don't see the point of justifying myself to someone who calls Terrence Malick 'poop', in whichever classy version of the word.

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  10. "Tollywood Remake Buffet Table" ... #Outrage. Tollywood(Telugu) & Kollywood(Tamil)are two different industries & cannot be used interchangeably.In order to avoid such gaffes and in the process earn the wrath of the South Indian cinema goer, please refer to the following name list.

    Kollywood- Tamil
    Tollywood- Telugu
    Mollywood- Malayalam
    Sandalwood(yes, you read it right) - Kannada

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  11. Twirling a mala of divine beads! LOL! SUPERB review once again Mihir :)

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  12. ZOMG HOW DO PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT OPINION THAN MINE! LIFE IS SO HARD :(

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  13. Weren't you playing critic to the bloggers opinion a-la review... Was it easy for you to do so ??
    Did you feel the same when you asked Fadanvis to stop review when the reviewer appealed for such films not to be made..

    Well when you remembered Fadanvis in those first few plagiarized lines... I recollected the word Hypocrite when I read your reply...

    -"One sound advice would be to stop writing reviews for these blatantly brainless, as funny as TB commercial films and write on world cinema and hollywood stuff."

    I might paste a "googled" line here too "Advice is best only when someone asks for it"

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  14. @LeMediator Terrence Mallick's poop? Really? Are you comparing Prabhudeva with Terrence Mallick?

    If you don't like review, It doesn't mean you need to abuse Terrence Mallick.
    Please Admin,
    Delete that pathetic attempt of attention seeking

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  15. What do you accept from Ravi Teja's Kick being remade in bollywood.

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  16. I bet this review is more entertaining than this movie itself!

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  17. Going to watch it tonight. One thing you didn't talk about is Prabhudeva the choreographer. I think the music is catchy and hopefully the songs are well choreographed. I am not a big fan of Akshay Kumar but hopefully its more funny that Chandni Chowk to China.

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  18. Why hate on stoned people so much? :(

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  19. Mr. Thakur, please read what I have written in the original post. I did not denigrate Terrence Malick. I only said that Mr. Fadnavis will like anything that comes from Terrence Malick irrespective of its merits, even if it is the result of his bowel movement. How is that abusing Terrence Malick? And read it again (slowly, this time, with the help of comprehension aids if you must) and tell me where have I compared TM and Prabhudeva?

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  20. Indian Audiences are the Problem ! not the film makers ...because the Audience is So Dumb and Enjoys such movies which are inextricably
    Stupid and illogical termed as 'entertainment' that movies makes make such movies only as they Rope in a lot of Moolah ! ... Simple... if we stop going to such movies they start flopping and directors and producers go back to the Drawing board and Hire a Real Living Writer ...

    Peace out ! ...

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  21. Muchos congratulations on the witty nick that you seem to have assumed here. Very good it is. By the way, when you say plagiarized, when in the comment did I say that the quote that is the first paragraph is mine? Its a snippet from a dialogue in the movie 'Ratatouille' (just in case you weren't able to find it, using google can be tricky for some)

    You are quite right in saying that I have as much of a right to an opinion as Mr. Fadnavis does. And I respect that POV.

    The thing that I'd like to reiterate, through means of simplified language would be this: If one knows that one is biased against an actor or a movie or just doesn't like big bollywood movies on principle, should one review it? Should one spew venom on it?

    But as you said, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Please, don't take my POV about your idol in the wrong vein.

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  22. Even i do not like the trailer. Akshay Kumar thinks anything can work like SRK thought of Ra-one.

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  23. What a complete idiot.

    I refuse to agree on anything that someone who is "Perpetually bitter and caustic. Loves bitching, bullshitting & procrastinating." has to spew.

    Self-depreciation would do you so good. Don't take out the epic frustration that your life is on cinema.

    It is understandable if you don't like a movie, hell it's understandable if you hate it.

    But it is unacceptable to rip the movie's gizzards off just 'cause you don't like it for fuck's sake. Show some human emotion, be a little more humane you egghead.

    I bet you were one of those perpetually angry kids who derived pleasure out of torturing stray animals, and now that the PETA is up your ass you have migrated to cinema to continue your blitzkrieg of appreciation-deficient critique.

    Grow up seriously, before all this bitterness swallows you up.

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  24. I'm sure it'll be a rocking Rs 100 crore family entertainer.

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  25. I didn't think the choreography was path breaking, but he did make a nice cameo.

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  26. Had lot of fun reading the review as usual. Keep up the good work man. And ignore the trolls and haters. This is what makes you different from other sellout movie critics in this country.

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  27. I don't have any expectations from the movie , even lesser from the "hopelessly jumping monkey " Akshay Kumar .
    But you continous battering and bashing of movies are getting too repetitive to enjoy !

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  28. Thank you. Great review, btw. Akshay Kumar has been riding too long and too stupid on the Hera Pheri wave.

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  29. Well, here's to the upcoming 'Shanghai'

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  30. I just don't understand the obsession of maases and filmmakers with use less south Indian remakes. Rowdy Rathore types of movies are sick. Women are shown as objects. Stupid movies . Stupid director and actors

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  31. At this rate, Bollywood should be renamed as Remakewood!

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  32. So you think Bollywood normally aims for 'class', whereas South remakes are turning it inoto a 'cottage industry'? Newsflash - Bollywood has never had class in the first place. Their movies fall into 5 categories - 1) Rip of Hollywood, 2) Rip off amazing Korean movies (Murder 2, Awarapan, etc.), 3) Boring love stories (Jab We Met), 4) So-called stylish action thrillers lacking any good acting and sense (Dhoom series), 5) Somewhat decent movies (Taare Zameen Par, Lagaan), but ultimately way inferior when compared to World Cinema (Pan's Labyrinth, The Sea Inside, La Vie En Rose, etc.)

    In contrast, South indian flims do not aim for oscar glory or worldwide recognition. Their aim is simply to make mindless entertainers that are illogical to the point of being fun. And in this respect, Tamil and Telugu films are almost twins. Vikramarkudu (Or in this case, Rowdy Rathore), is not a pretentious bore like Saawariya, a sleazefest like Hate Story, a pro-paki nausea inducing lovefest like Veer Zaara or a sickening NRI targeted piece of crap like Salaam Namaste. It is a mindless entertainer with a simplistic plot and a hero who acts like a superman from the cro-magnon era - and there lies its charm!

    I watch not only Hollywood and Indian Cinema, but also Korean, Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Swedish, French and Norwegian Cinema. It amuses me when pseudo-intellectuals trash South films when atleast, the directors admit their inability for intellectual film making and instead opt for the tried and tested mass entertainers. And the fact is, even these whiners watch these masala movies each time they hit the theaters.

    I can watch an amazing crime thriller like One Nite in Mongkok (Hong Kong), a charming visual delight like Amelie (France), a gripping tale of honor killings, domestic abuse and prejudices like When Darkness Falls (Sweden), Bollywood classic family musical like Hum Aapke Hai Kaun AND a brainless entertainer like Vikramarkudu/Rowdy Rathore.

    Is it that hard? Apparently so, for pseudo-intellectuals. Well, don't bring up those stupid arguments against someone like me, who watches everything without a hint of pretension.

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  33. stupid lame ass movie for rickshawalas...the idea of chintaka chita is so gay!! I guess Singham was the limit for how raw you can get without being cheap.

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  34. Too bad this movie isnt as good as the original then. I kinda liked the drama in the Telugu one - Vikramarkudu, and was hoping Akshay doesnt kill the movie like how he did for his other comedy ventures. Definitely not watching this one.

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  35. and what is Bengali film industry called ?

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  36. I haven't seen the Telugu version so I'm not sure how it compares.

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  37. Akshay Kumar please reitire from bollywood befor son grows up & yells to the world 'Yeh aadmi mera baap nahi hai'.

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  38. Brilliant! More of these! Such articles need to be shared more so that people stop "appreciating" movies such as this one, housefull2 and all the other bullcrap that is churning out of bollywood.

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  39. i dunno y such movies work at the box office........the indian audience needs 2 mature

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  40. plus sonakshi's costumes are an eye sore ! yuck!

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  41. sonakshi's costumes are an eye sore !

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  42. Mihir ji's upcoming rating--

    Ek Tha Tiger-2 star
    SoS-1.5 Star
    Joker-1 star
    Khiladi 786-1 star
    YRF's next-1.5 star
    Dabangg2- 2 star


    But all of them will become blockbuster and go in 100 cr mark

    Moral: Mihir ji is FLOP-trolled.

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  43. "You will be able to find more cinematic magic in Terrence Mallick's poop than you will find in movies directed by a lowbrow director like Prabhudeva" If it is not comparison between TM and Prabhudeva then....read it again (slowly, this time, with the help of comprehension aids if you must).
    Do u even have the bowel movement? or you just scratch your boss's tummy.

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  44. Why are you quoting Ratatouille ???

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  45. I know it will be but will it b that good

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  46. I suppose Sandalwood does sound far more absurd than "(K|T|M)ollywood"...

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  47. I would like you see this wonderful post when you get a chance. Hopefully that will make you more lenient in giving ratings for masala movies :-)
    http://getfilmy.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/the-masses-vs-classes-debate-dibakar-bannerjee-breaks-it-down/

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  48. i tried watching this movie but aftr 15 mins i could not watch it anymore....this movie is really stupid!! just wasted my 15mins...hehe n i was thinking if i was the only 1 who hates it...good to know there are ppl lyk me...;)

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