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Pack of cops is back with top class action, comic jabs and patriotism

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Film Review                                              Sooryavanshi

By Sunita Vijay
Rohit Shetty presents to the audience an action-packed film after a slumber period of at least two national COVID waves, relentless lockdowns and the unending pandemic threat in the air, taking ahead his cop universe with ATS chief Veer Sooryavanshi in the hot seat. Singham and Simbaa, the two wondrous plods, join him later to provide triple-action dose. The trio – Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh – stand back-to-back, shower bullets on terrorists, beat them to a pulp, make them fly in the air, eliminate them with ease, and sum up to restore our confidence in the country’s safety and security being in good hands. This is Shetty’s world, with larger-than-life action, colourful frames, daring men in khakhi who can do the implausible, who can never ever do anything wrong, are filled with patriotic fervour, can fight scores of terrorists and emerge victorious without a speck of dust or even a fleck of a crease on their body or clothes, no scratch on their sunglasses (they don’t even lose their aviators in all this muck), with unruffled hair and not a drop of sweat on the forehead but patriotism throbbing through their veins. They walk, talk and act with humongous confidence in the gravest of grave situations. This is what Sooryavanshi presents in plenty but still suffers from limp pace before the interval.

In 1993, one-ton of RDX was brought to Mumbai – 400 kgs were consumed for the serial blasts and 600 kgs still lay somewhere buried, unused for 27 years. Then ATS chief Kabir Shroff (Javed Jaffrey) solved the case in two days, but still resented his inability to nab the two main culprits, Kumud Misra and Jackie Shroff, who had managed to escape to PoK, only to seed about forty sleeper-cells in India. These planted men lived like normal benign citizens, with changed identities and respected occupations such as mechanic, security guard, auto rickshaw driver or indulged in other chores camouflaging themselves well, not to be detected, only to become active when needed to, potent enough to create havoc. The man in command, Sooryavanshi, now has the responsibility to save Mumbai from a bigger attack displaying a delightfully bold attitude, ‘Iss baar aayenge….to dekh lenge saalon ko’.

Shetty creates a universe where only male stars call the shots. Female actors are glamorous fillers, hired to stretch the movie’s time, to present sensuous songs, or to construct a background story or scratch on soft emotions. The focus is to showcase the male stars as saviours, with tremendous energy spent on making their entry impressive, how they deal with their sunglasses, what they speak, to present pitch-perfect action, the right camera angles to freeze the shots, focusing on actors’ swagger, their peculiarities, their tone shown in broad strokes with impressive background score to accentuate the scene. Overall, the cumulative masala under the banner Sooryavanshi encapsulates an entertainment pataka that bursts this Diwali with a bang and entertains fully!

Jackie Shroff heading the Mumbai blast plot sets the right tone for the role. We expect more from him as the hint is given for a sequel. Shruti Panwar, as his wife, laments for her sons as the malicious intentions throws them in the terror inferno. Her expressions flawlessly emote the devastating feeling of a mother who sees her family crumble in the garb of revenge.

How pleasant it was to see Gulshan Grover in full form as evil Usmani, looking and sounding every bit of what he was expected to do – the authoritative leader, a rebel, his angst, the revenge; all encased brilliantly in his demeanor.

The film runs at normal pace in the first half to pick up later when Ranveer and Ajay Devgn make an entry. The actions are thoughtfully crafted, letting no movement go waste. Each turn, twist, somersault and then rising after a fall is tactfully utilised to break bones, blow opponents in the air, to squeeze neck or wring their arms. One man good enough against many; giving a tough challenge to the best of animated action games. Shetty knows his craft well to impress the audience abundantly, providing a triple dose through the industry’s best action heroes sparkling in one frame, creating thunder on screen. They truly dazzle the viewers despite certain ignorable flaws.

Shetty envisages a scenario where each religious community forgets its differences to save humanity. This commendable thought has been superbly shot in a couple of scenes. It’s a great initiative as cinema has huge potential to shape the views of society.
Akshay’s fitness is remarkable; he balances his actions and punch lines well, performing whistle-blowing stunts. The one-to-one fight scenes are a real treat. The perennial dose of humour escalates the entertainment factor. It’s a difficult plot but still manages an out of place steamy romantic song borrowed from Akshay’s film Mohra. Katrina’s sensuous moves adorned with fine choreography are a stupendous presentation. From vintage cars, bomb-proof vehicle for Ajay Devgn’s entry, interesting car chase, impressive helicopter stunt, Mumbai shown in full glory from top to abundant patriotic doses; it’s a wholesome package.

The film goes preachy at various places. Importance of family, defining true Indian Muslims, how we love Kalam and hate Kasab, etc., are important ingredients. The film has thrilling moments along with a sprinkle of humour. Sooryavanshi is a perfect gift after a gloomy phase of about two years. Just enjoy it and forget the minor weaknesses.