Today, something exceeded the expectations of the Vampire Bat. No, it was not that line of expectations built with continuous gunfire by the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name, nor was it that thinner line of thread woven by that arachnid of my favourite computer games of those “twenty four hour gaming” days – Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty. With undeserving apologies to all those who misunderstood, this is a Hindi movie, product of Bollywood with a difference. Coming back to that arachnid about which I was talking about, this one belongs to its genre, even as this is no game to be controlled by the audience, but it is still one in its essence. It is surely one of the best action movies – I would rather leave a little doubt about saying it though, as this is not the kind of comparable action movie, for it has brought variety with it which makes it different. No, it doesn’t make it a pariah to the action-adventure-thriller group of genre. It is the same, but it has actually held on to what it is, unlike most of the Bollywood movies which strays away from the core or concentrate on too much shooting or slow motion melee combats which are more intolerable than all the over hyped movies like Agneepath and Krissh which went on to become super hits only on fans – but our movie is a silent killer, and the film itself is a commando as well as a hit-man.
As we move out of the nonsense which was Krissh and the void which was Agneepath, this movie takes over. In a world where movies can sell the nonsense of nothingness in a void with one celebrity, this movie is a boon and a redeemer. But it is still not the right product for your imagination on perfection. First of all, it doesn’t have a powerful story line to boast about. It starts off, goes on and ends with no surprises – it surely has no rocket fuel in it. There are also so many elements which can be compared to Tango Charlie (the least similarity), Koyla, Agneepath and Bodyguard. The story moves along predictable lines, and the element of suspense is missing even in the most thrilling moments. The story of Captain Karanvir (Vidyut Jamwal), a commando begins with him in Chinese captivity. As the Chinese government tries to take advantage of the situation, and brands him as an Indian spy, the Indian Government feels the pressure and chooses to simply deny his existence, despite of the fact that he has proved on multiple occasions as a valuable asset to the military forces, and in spite of his superior officer’s strong comments against it.
He escapes from China and on his way back, at the Himachal – Punjab border, he meets and saves a girl, Simrit (Pooja Chopra) who is escaping from gundas. Amrit Kanwal Singh (Jaideep Ahlawat) is the master and the owner of all illegal activities of the village, and it is from his wish to marry Simrit that all the trouble for the girl starts with her running away from home with the support of her helpless parents and relatives. Karanvir is forced by Simrit to accompany her in the bus to which he reluctantly agrees. But, the bus come up against a roadblock and finding himself outnumbered and nowhere to escape, he surprises and kicks the villain and jumps off the bridge with Simrit into a river, finally ending up in a forest. But finding himself embarrased by the former commando, Amrit Kanwal Singh decides to pursue them and make an example out of Karanvir so that he can keep the fear in the minds of the villagers going, as his failure would raise questions from the oppressed, and might lead to a challenge to his supremacy which he doesn’t want. There begins the high-voltage chase with a few moments of romantic touch. There, the numbers game of the cruel and brutal villain will meet the commando tactics of the trained hero, and it is a situation where there could be only one winner.
The movie belongs to Vidyut Jamwal, and there is no surprise in it. It was much expected with his first movie as the leading actor and with him placed in his familiar territory of powerful action and adventure. His roles in Thuppaki and Billa II as well as Force might have been incredibly negative, but here, he his a virtuous, patriotic commando of “rough and tough” chivalry. He has transformed from the powerful evil antagonist to the popular lead protagonist in this movie. That brings to us our new action star, already hailed as the next action hero. It does make one curious about what his role would be, in the upcoming action flick, Bullett Raja. This can’t help taking one back to Force, that 2011 Bollywood action movie directed by Nishikanth Kamath and starring John Abraham with Genelia D’Souza in the lead roles. As Vidyut Jamwal played the dreaded gangster, he was a force to reckon with, and his fight with John Abraham was the highlight of the movie. The confrontation between the two left the audience with a clue of what to expect from this rising star, whether they liked the movie or not. A movie with him and John Abraham on the same side would be a treat to watch, even as the verdict on this movie itself is currently on the balance with the side of success weighing much more.
The advertisement said that it is from the makers of Force and Singham, and we would never cease to see a few things of the former in this movie. Taking the “Khwabon Khwabon” song of teh John Abraham starrer itself, the background of that song would seem to be similar to that of the first romantic song of this one too, as only the audible side differs as well as the pairs. The other major difference would be that the hero of this movie had separated the other pair by murdering the lady in the other movie – so much for comparisons! But when you see a poster of Force, and later Vidyut Jamwal throwing a gunda through it and coming out through it, there is that feeling that we have another John Abraham in him. It wouldn’t be strange if one feels that the looks of John Abraham in that movie was also suited to the role of a commando. Coming back to Vidyut Jamwal, he conquers the audience more by the action sequences than anything else – to add to it, there are the one-liners, a few of them. To be frank, this was never a role which he couldn’t handle, as this commando is of best quality, and even if questions are asked and criticized, there is not much to take away from this man as an action hero of the highest quality.
From our skilled action hero, the scene has to shift, and we see that Pooja Chopra has a dream debut, playing a character of mighty significance, even if being the damsel in distress is the first thing to be noticed about her. Technically, it might not be her debut either, but on the intellectual ground of thoughts, it should be. Considering this as an action movie, the songs and the romantic side are of lesser concern, and might even damage the pace, but her character doesn’t really have that strong a romantic side, as she faces adversity and tragedy – but there is the presence of lighter moments. As the lady who never gives up, not when she is haunted by a villain and his minions, and not even when all hopes seems to have lost with the commando thrown down the cliffs, she hold on to the hopes, for the one “Karan”, like the mother hopes for Karan and Arjun in that movie which shall not be named right now. She is brave enough, but not George Bernard Shaw’s Joan, and also is the romantic one, but not William Shakespeare’s Juliet – but this is as much as needed in an action movie as long as the romance factor is concerned; in the charm, beauty and the innate cheerfulness, she conquers the hearts of the audience, and for a newcomer, and for non-action heroine in an action movie, she has done more than just enough.
Jaideep Ahlawat’s villain is as close to pure evil as possible for a weak man who always needs his minions all around him to support him and save him from a possible attack – more of the damned causing distress rather than our beautiful, gorgeous damsel in distress. His white eye balls which resemble the moon-blinked eyes of the Owls of Ga’Hoole seem to reflect his soul’s emptiness, its darkness eclipsing the outer eyes. He is a deadly force – more psychotic than anything else, matched only by the power of his nemesis. The beauty of nature, the sun rising, the beams of the sun getting into the forest, the river with the green background and the white mountains at a distance, they all create a feeling of beautiful mystery – where the commando is the predator for the villain’s team, for this time, the roles are reversed. For such an action hero, this reversal is a boon. The movie is recommended for being faithful to its genre in a remarkable manner, and for the people who search for the story lines of extreme depth and strong innovation, there will be other movies – for the ones searching for a heavy does of emotions which make them rain tears, there will be many more. For now, there is our own risk taking, gravity defying, rock solid commando who is in a familiar territory.
Release date: 13th April 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Dilip Ghosh
Starring: Vidyut Jamwal, Pooja Chopra, Jaideep Ahlawat, Jagat Rawat, Ishita Vyas
@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.