Ronnie Screwvala embarks on yet another patriotic adventure. Errs horrendously even at the pre-production stage. Never recovers. Riding on the patriotic approval at the box office, this contrived salute to women empowerment is exhausting and blatantly a credibility-gap product.(Image:Twitter)
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Anshul Chauhan, Varun Mitra, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vishak Nair, Rohed Khan, Mohan Agashe.
Direction: Sarvesh Mewara
Hyderabad: Ronnie Screwvala embarks on yet another patriotic adventure. Errs horrendously even at the pre-production stage. Never recovers. Riding on the patriotic approval at the box office, this contrived salute to women empowerment is exhausting and blatantly a credibility-gap product. Also, Kangana Ranaut for good and bad is no Sunny Deol. And Ronnie Screwvala having done ‘Urvi’ with Aditya Dhar decides to change the captain and zeroes in on Sarvesh Mewara.
Right from the introduction of Tejas (Kangana Ranaut), the script is dedicated to the bravery of the forces and how it is in their sacrifice lies our safety. ‘Tejas’ is built on the quicksand of a few characters whose larger-than-life presence if analysed shows the system in poor light. Any system that bases its plans on chance and its execution on individual genius must test its premise. The heroics of a few tell their own tale of the rest.
The entry shots of Tejas taking her first flight and the rescue operations in defiance of the in-house hierarchy are too filmy and are bereft of cinematic niceties. They set the tone... and a hollow mood. Even the sparse turn-out finds little to sit back and enjoy. We have two bravehearts: Tejas and her colleague Arfa (Anshul Chauhan) who defy a gang of aboriginals on an unknown island and dramatically rescue a colleague who has parachuted there and is unconscious.
Then there is the jerky look into her past with Dad and Mom (Mohit Chauhan and Archana Mittal) and part-time fiancé Ekveer (Varun Mitra). It does not take long for the uninitiated to get familiar with the courage, skills and bravery of one protagonist, who while not disobeying orders or training or attending pop music concerts is also beating up women harassers who are leftovers of the sixties.
The film when dealing with the training at the Air Force College is painstakingly over the top and includes the protagonist giving a lecture on a fighter plane a la reciting ‘Johnny Johnny What Pappa’. The script attempts to test your attention level until well past half-time, the past constantly interrupting and interfering with the present, both just as boring as the other.
A terror attack, and everything changes for Tejas. She nurtures a sense of justifiable vendetta for the terrorists. Fortunately, she is not called upon to act in the Jew-Palestine conflict. When a scientist is kidnapped by terrorists and housed in Pakistan, she identifies him as her former colleague Prashant (Vishak Nair). Not all the Prime Minister’s men and the defence forces can identify the captive or his Morse code till Tejas with dramatically higher IQ and EQ can identify him and finds a scheme to save him. On the other side of the fence is the dreaded terrorist Sarqalam (Rohed Khan). Facing court martial for disobedience, Tejas pushes for being part of the team constituted to save the kidnapped scientist. Quick-footed, she manages to be part of the coddiwomple. She and an old colleague constitute the two-women team out to rescue Prashant. They quickly garner the attention and with the confidence of IAF chief Panicker (Ashish Vidyarthi), RAW chief (Rio Kapadia), defence minister (Veenah Nair), prime minister (Mohan Agashe). None barring Panicker and the PM rise out of the cardboard precincts of their character. The terrorists seem like a bunch of jokers — all to themselves in the middle of a nowhere desert.
How they rescue the kidnapped colleagues, save a possible attack on Ram Mandir and ensure there are no negative gender generalisations is what makes this film. This is an Air Force bravery saga told without punch, enacted without conviction and assembled with amateur partisan enthusiasm.
Even Kangana Ranaut fails to deliver. In fact, she is central to the overall disappointment and the lacklustre quality of the film. This is not a fantasy flight you want to take.