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Fight and flight to nowhere

Fight and flight to nowhere

Sidharth Malhotra is warming up to the action genre, but needs to emote better.

Film: Yodha

Director: Sagar Ambre, Pushkar Ojha

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Raashii Khanna, Disha Patani, Ronit Roy, Tanuj Virwani

Parbina Rashid

Having established that there are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims with its innumerable outings, it’s time for B-town to become a little more precise. There are good Pakistanis and there are bad Pakistanis. And who will rescue the good ones from the gun-toting bad ones? Who else but our heroes!

Talking of heroes, this latest one even says it aloud, “I am the hero of this story!” Maybe, just to make sure that we don’t take him for Tiger 4.0, rescuing his sasural from their own baddies once again, considering that both ‘Yodha’ and ‘Tiger 3’ end on a similar note.

Arun Katyal (Sidharth Malhotra) is introduced as a rebel Yodha, of this special task force unit, started by his father (Ronit Roy). The setting is the India-Bangladesh border in 2001 and those he eliminates are Bangla-speaking Muslim terrorists. Last checked, active in the region during the time were militant groups like ULFA. And the bearded ones with skull-caps are mostly poor Bangladeshi infiltrators! Did I miss a chapter in the recent conflict history of the sub-continent which the makers are aware of?

It seems they are more interested in the bigger picture, which is desh bhakti! It oozes out in all forms, be it through the smoke-gun which emits smoke in tri-colours or hyper-nationalistic dialogues like ‘Tumhein na Kashmir mile ga na us ki tasveer!’

After all, a macho man needs to mouth macho words. “Yodha ka style kabhi negotiation ka tha hi nahin,” Arun says whenever he gets a chance.

Soon, a plane is hijacked at the Amritsar airport. Except for there being a prominent Indian nuclear scientist among the passengers, the plot is mum on why it’s been targeted. The hijackers too don’t know about the nuclear guy’s presence or what their demands are, except that the plane needs refuelling. But guess what, among all the passengers, the hijackers pick Arun to carry out the negotiation, with his wife Priyamvada (Raashi Khanna) at the other end. Fights ensue and he is kicked out of the plane, which takes off without the fuel.

As the plane soars, the film plunges into an abyss after Arun’s prosecution for that botched-up rescue operation. He loses his job, his group and his family.

A few years later, Arun resurfaces on a Delhi-London flight under mysterious circumstances, and he finds himself in the middle of another hijack! For a few minutes, it looks intriguing. Is he the one? The bad guy, we mean. Seeking revenge on his government by derailing a peace process between the two neighbouring countries? But soon, lazy writing takes over and the revenge angle gives way to nationalistic zeal. From there, it meanders through that all-too-familiar trajectory with mid-air drama thrown in as a side-dish. The revelation here is — planes have flaps on the floor which can be easily pulled off and one can go up and down without much trouble! Our self-proclaimed hero does it while fighting the hijackers and so do the other passengers!

Sidharth Malhotra is warming up to the action genre, going by his recent releases, and he has flexed his muscles to get it right. But he needs to emote better. Even sentimental songs like ‘Qismat Badal Di’ or ‘Zindagi Tere Naam’ cannot fill in the blank expressions on his face.

Priyamvada, who handles the negotiation during the first hijack, is so clumsy and awkward that it makes me want to re-visit Inspector Raquel’s negotiation tactics in ‘Money Heist’, just to wipe out the bad taste. Disha Patani, as one of the hijackers in the guise of an airhostess, has few scenes to enact and even fewer dialogues to deliver. The only one with recall value is, “I am sorry.” So am I, truth be told.