Aiyaary trailer: Neeraj Pandey's thriller gambles with Sidharth Malhotra but sticks to familiar tropes
Aiyaary is an espionage thriller by Neeraj Pandey that will release this Republic Day along with Akshay Kumar's Padman.
But unlike his previous directorials, Aiyaary finds a new protagonist in Sidharth Malhotra, who recently featured in Raj and DK's A Gentleman, a film loosely from the same genre. But going by its trailer, Aiyaary seems like a no-nonsense thriller, as opposed to A Gentleman, which had its share of cheeky humour.
With Aiyaary, Pandey's familiar ensemble of Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah returns to action and are joined by Adil Hussain and the leading lady Rakul Preet Singh.
However, the exchange involving Bajpayee and Malhotra's characters remains the focal point of the narrative. Both play army men but on the opposite ends of the spectrum of corruption. Bajpayee, an altruistic and loyal soldier, is assigned the task of chasing his former protege Malhotra, who seems to be embroiled in a huge artillery scam.
But the cat and mouse chase, with the theme of disguise and an array of characters thrown in the mix, calls for an evenly balanced match of power. Here, the case is lopsided. A relatively inexperienced and weak actor in Malhotra does not seem to match up to the prowess and presence of the gritty Bajpayee.
All other elements — including the atmospherics, the faces and the dramatic tools — look familiar, as if Pandey is taking a page out of his book, that contains successful thrillers like A Wednesday and Baby. But one familiar element that this writer sorely missed was Akshay Kumar. He could have been deployed as an opponent worthy and capable of locking horns with Bajpayee.
Kumar, however, will be seen wrestling the entire team of Aiyaary at the box office as his film, R Balki's social drama Padman, clashes with Aiyaary at the box office on the Republic Day weekend. Given Kumar's recent turn towards socially aware films, if Aiyaary manages to gain the upper hand over Padman, it may compel the Airlift star to make a convenient comeback to yet another one of his familiar turfs.
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