1 Star out of 5 (Poor)

Director: Karan Malhotra 

Cast : Ranbir Kapoor, Vaani Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt 

Hindi (English subtitles available), Release 22/7/22



Welcome to Kapoor Gold Fields!  Only this feels like you’ve seen two movies like this before, with Part 3 adding to the torture. Do you remember the time when you watched a movie in a fog of sheer boredom, with tantalizing visions of when you could walk out into the sun or driving rain when the show is over ? This is the umpteenth such flick in the third year of the pandemic, and you thought mankind’s suffering was almost over.

There were a dozen people in the entire theater for a weekend afternoon show, and it is a tribute to the everlasting resilience of Aucklanders that those brave dozen remained till the end (somebody should make a movie on their impossible adventure). Budgeted at Rs.150 crore, news reports indicate roughly the same attendance pattern as above in 4000 theatres the movie has released in, indicating a box office bomb so big that the great Shamshera himself could not have detonated such a thing.  

‘Shamshera’s plot and set design has a lot of similarities to ‘K.G.F’, which unfortunately forebodes blood-curdling consequences for the audience. Ranbir Kapoor portrays the legendary ‘Shamshera’ – a born again super-champion in British-misruled India. There are no towns or cities here, just open hinterland and dungeon-like citadels. Shamshera is the leader of the ‘Khameran’ tribe who are unwittingly thrown into a jail-like fortress by the conniving colonial invaders, and further brutalized by a devious officer Shuddh Singh who is keen on being consistently Satanic towards people of his own land. 

You can’t kill Shamshera – he will rise from the dead and fly through the alley-ways and hills like Spider-man. A lot of gold has been agreed upon as ransom to free his people, and that is enough for the hero to embark on awesome adventures, where he scrawls his name in red in the Devanagari script wherever he’s laid siege, while his people await their saviour.    

The first one hour is the worst – as though a ten-year-old scribbled an action fantasy. The story strokes are so broad you could fit India, Britain, Pakistan and Bangladesh within those lines (not that the film’s ersatz geography will give you any idea where you are). Looking for the action sequences to have originality or flair ? Dream on. Except for a smart hiding place in a marriage scene, most other scenes are such routine attack and escapade, cat-‘n’-mouse sequences that ‘Tom & Jerry’ seems far superior.

Ranbir’s romance with Vaani Kapoor is cookie-cutter drivel, with the only person enjoying here being the hero himself who gets to hug a nearly nude heroine in a pool. You love over-melodramatic crying and rending and fake emotions where the actual script leaves you stone-cold? You’ve come to the right place. 

Ranbir Kapoor continues his superstar knack (Bombay Velvet, Sanju) of periodically selecting big budget pictures that mock taste and shock expectations. Sanjay Dutt pulls role No.100 as another scruffy, rasping, nefarious creep. The songs are forgettable while the cinematography, as is director Karan Malhotra’s yen, is good with two sequences standing out – a shot zooming up a giant tree, and another in a train attack sequence. What Malhotra is yet to show is the ability to find a good script, to display more directorial focus and a higher level of directorial vision rather than the same hare-brained commerce-craving wreckage. How can he when one of India’s biggest production houses Yash Raj Films merrily agrees to bankroll a sleepwalker like this?  


For more movie reviews by U Prashanth Nayak please click: http://www.upnworld.com//upn/movie_lists