Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Gulshan Grover, Jaaved Jaafri, Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn
Director: Rohit Shetty
In an action thriller, where there’s hardly scope of any romance, an old Raveena Tandon song, 'Tip Tip Barsa Pani' from the film 'Mohra' starts playing all of a sudden with a drenched Katrina Kaif shimmering and exposing her svelte body, and she rues, “Tum bude ho gaye ho,” (You have become old) as hero Akshay Kumar stands aloof under a shed protecting himself. And that’s precisely what an otherwise perfect-in- shape chiseled bodied Kumar is: greybeard and senior citizen whose neckline reveals more than it hides. Not that he lets any of the wrinkles or crow’s feet and laugh lines come in the way of his power packed action packed sequences, but he does need not one, but two mighty heroes – Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh – to eliminate the evil that he sets out to achieve in this 145 minute film.
The fourth instalment of Shetty's Cop Universe 'Sooryavanshi' stars Akshay Kumar as Anti-Terrorism Squad chief DCP Veer Sooryavanshi opposite Katrina Kaif with supporting cast of Jackie Shroff, Gulshan Grover, Abhimanyu Singh, Vivan Bhatena, Sikandar Kher, Nikitin Dheer and Jaaved Jaaferi. Both Devgn and Singh have extended cameo appearances reprising their roles of Singham and Simmba from the franchise's previous films. This time, it’s DCP Veer Sooryavanshi (Kumar) as the chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad and his team joining forces with Inspector Sangram Bhalerao and DCP Bajirao Singham to stop a terrorist group planning to attack Mumbai.
The much delayed film that was announced in 2018 and was to release in 2021 and got postponed several times indefinitely due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and lockdown in Maharashtra, and as one can make out, a few scenes have been either tweaked or subtly edited and redone to cater to the demanding section of the huge fan following of tis cop action drama.
It’s Devgn’s voice that takes us back to the terror attacks in Mumbai three decades back, and subsequently the serial blasts in 2008 when many of the iconic locations in Mumbai were damaged. The intelligence discloses that out of the 1000 kg RDX only 400 kg was used and the rest 600 kilos they uncover, is hidden safely for it to be used later. And that sets the premise for yet another and probably the vastest, calamity waiting to happen in the city. The intelligence is aware that Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant Islamist Jihadist network and terrorist organisation operating against India in Pakistanis active and is hatching a plan to annihilate more innocent lives in India again.
Obviously, only Sooryavanshi who now has a steely resolve, gets cracking neglecting his wife Riya (Kaif who plays a doctor) and his young son Aryan. So committed he is towards his duty as a cop that he even risks his son’s life once. Riya then decides to take her son to Australia and stay away from him.
Extremism that spells recipe for gory violence, even gratuitous, as well cross border terrorism are often themes bordering on extreme hatred with a sense of revenge, and what better way to incite desh bhakts (blind supporters) than rousing in them a strong feeling of patriotism by bringing in elements, such as Pakistan to do the needful. Although we are informed that an ‘eye for an eye, makes the world blind,’ the plot refuses to thicken beyond conflicts, brawls, clashes, hostilities, chase and punchy fights. Here, the gang of terrorists is almost invariably smarter and second guesses, it’s the Indian police force which is made to look like quite stupid giving away vital clues for not just the villains but even the common man realize what is going on. In one of the crucial scenes, Bilal (Kumud Mishra) who comes back to India to mastermind and execute more attacks visit his mother’s grave openly for all to recognise him. But the cops who chase him down all the way to his hotel, are equally inept and lackadaisical in camouflaging their identity and are easily spotted by Bilal.
To appease the large chunk of film buffs who may belong to any community, writer Rohit Shetty (the story is credited to him and Farhad Samji!) makes sure he includes a few scenes and heavy-duty dialogues that underline and bring to the fore the Hindu-Muslim unity. He also has one of the characters Riyaaz Hafeez (Abhimanyu Singh) say in a declaratory tone, “Abhi jang khatm nahin huyee hai,” (The war isn’t finished yet) just before he ruthlessly gunned down by the three – Kumar, Singh and Devgn. So, yet another franchise awaits us in the next years!
It’s Akshay Kumar who hogs all the scenes here – showing off his swagger while throwing off his dark glasses in style. And after you’ve had too much of it, you wonder what happened to the other two star attractions? But then, it’s a Rohit Shetty film, in which cars have to fly, bodies butchered and many chase sequences merrily borrowed from Hollywood‘s hugely successful films.