Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Gulshan Grover, Jackie Shroff
The best part of ‘Sooryavanshi’ is when Simmba Bhalerao (Ranveer Singh) and Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) join Veer Sooryavanshi (Akshay Kumar) in a high-octane clash against terrorists. The final 15-20 minutes is fun as the trio revels in slick action and whacky comedy.
Apart from that, ‘Sooryavanshi’ is a tame Akshay Kumar star vehicle in a familiar theme of India’s fight against terrorism. Instead of expanding his cop universe with the story of another upright officer, director Rohit Shetty should have pulled off an ambitious film with a meaty plot for the three idiosyncratic policemen to shine equally.
DCP Veer Sooryavanshi, the main man of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, is tasked to stop Pakistani terrorists from executing a gruesome attack on Mumbai. The done-to-death story has clichéd antagonists (Jackie Shroff, Gulshan Grover, Abhimanyu Singh, and Kumud Mishra), who are too toothless and unintelligent for the dangerous job.
It’s an Akshay Kumar film, so you expectedly see the protagonist champion his Indianness in several scenes. Just that, the director prefers an in-your-face approach to instill patriotism in the viewers instead of organically placing the concept into the narrative.
The film is an action thriller. So cinematically, it feels out of place to see the protagonist delivering long speeches on secularism and patriotism in the middle of many tense operations.
‘Sooryavanshi’ fails to humanise its central character. He is in a tumultuous relationship with his wife Riya (Katrina Kaif). We don’t emotionally relate to this conflict courtesy of Rohit Shetty’s poor writing. The film’s weakest link is the portrayal of Sooryavanshi’s personal life.
He meets doctor Riya in a ridiculously bad scene, and the duo's love story is showcased with zero conviction. Despite being a seasoned filmmaker, Rohit Shetty’s handling of emotions is terrible. The best example is how he fails to extract a credible performance from Katrina, who is otherwise a decent actor.
She sounds awful while delivering the bland dialogues. There is no scope to be unique in a character that unfairly makes her the sole reason for the rift in the relationship. Rohit Shetty fails to flesh out the dynamics of their bond.
The film doesn’t deliver on the promise of being an ode to the Mumbai police. We don’t get to see the lives of his subordinates as the focus is completely on the hero. Hence, when Sooryavanshi’s colleague Thambe (Ashish Warang) dies in a blast, there is amplified melodrama in the film but we are not moved.
‘Sooryavanshi’ opens with the narration on Mumbai being the target of terror attacks since the 1993 multiple bombings. Yet, the city’s undying spirit or the families of the terror attacks’ victims don’t find a place in the plot. Not believing in a holistic approach, Rohit Shetty plays to the gallery, like needlessly adding a raunchy rain song (remix of the classic 'Tip Tip Barsa Paani') featuring Katrina in the second half.
One positive surprise was the film’s action sequences. Some thought seems to have gone in designing the shootouts and chases. Akshay Kumar pulls off the stylish and racy action with elan. However, the pre-climax scene embraces Rohit Shetty’s over-the-top style.
‘Sooryavanshi’ is an ordinary film that's watchable. Perhaps you can’t expect more from a filmmaker who loves the idea of being ordinary and never raises the bar.