Gabbar is Back Review: Akshay Kumar's remake of a Tamil film is a complete disaster
Ever since it’s been announced, I’ve been curious to know why the new Akshay Kumar movie is called Gabbar is Back.
Ever since it’s been announced, I’ve been curious to know why the new Akshay Kumar movie is called Gabbar is Back. This isn’t a sequel, there wasn’t a movie called Gabbar, so why suggest otherwise? This query is answered almost as soon as Gabbar is Back begins, with the opening credits of the movie. They have given you pretty much the whole film, including the action scenes, using only GIF images. We see that Kumar is a vigilante named Gabbar who fights corruption and finally kicks the villain in the nuts.
It’s only after we’ve seen this whole plot unfold during the credits that the actual film begins. Et voila! Gabbar is back!
Hold on to your seat belts because this is going to blow you away - Gabbar is Back is a Hindi remake of a Tamil version of an Akshay Kumar-flavoured version of a Gabtun Vijaykanth-flavored version of V for Vendetta. Now take a deep breath.
That’s right, Kumar’s Gabbar is the man in the Guy Fawkes mask, out to avenge his dead family and lead the young men of India to also wear masks and revolt against corruption. The film is directed by one Krish, who presumably also wants to remain anonymous either as a meta homage to the anonymous Gabbar character in the film, or evade the blame for this laughably bad movie.
Ramanaa, the film on which Gabbar is Back is based, was the same film that contained the worldwide sensation of a scene where Gabtun types a document in Windows Media Player. The same guy has also performed a heart surgery with the aid of a mobile phone. This is not the kind of cinema you take seriously.
It would have been perfect had this movie featured Kumar pulling a Gabtun, and going the whole hog with the ridiculous VLC Player-typing and smartphone surgeries. For some reason, Krish decided to root Gabbar in serious reality, and attempted to address some issues and actually ‘inspire’ the youth with eyeball and eardrum-shattering manipulation.
The corrupt officials in Gabbar are caricaturish as hell, as are the long-suffering common people. You literally get characters expanding their chests, looking at the camera and declaring something either villainous or jingoist. There are wailing vidhwas, moustache-twirling goons, Machiavellian doctors who are willing to treat dead bodies in exchange for money and potbellied senior police men who are dimwitted (naturally).
And there’s Sadhuram, a police van driver (Sunil Grover) who scored 100% in everything but couldn’t get an officer’s post because he didn’t have money for a bribe. When Gabbar starts to publicly and literally hang the corrupt, this van driver takes medical leave, goes undercover and unearths the identity of Gabbar when the whole Mumbai police couldn’t. Never underestimate the power of maps, strings and colourful pins.
The main villain is Digvijay Patil (Suman Talwar), who constantly declares that he is ‘a brand’, accompanied by shots of the brand in question. You also get Gabbar grabbing Patil by the collar and shouting ‘GABBAR IS A BIGGER BRAND THAN YOU!’ This is like Gunda, only without the amazing characters and lines.
There is, of course, an attempt at amazing lines. Kumar drones in his trademark passive voice ‘Tum corrupt officials ko rishwat aur naariyal dono ek cheez ho gaye hai, roz chadhana padta hai’. There is also a cringe-inducing cameo from a big star. It includes a song featuring the star and Kumar, in a totally white setup, as if in a soap ad.
V for Vendetta is not just ripped off visually but also aurally, thanks to Sandeep Chowta who simply recycles the background score and makes it loud enough to turn the Guy Fawkes mask’s smile into a sad emoticon. The only ray of light in this rumbling assault of stupidity is that the film is only two hours and ten minutes long, short enough to return home and assuage your grief by browsing Vijaykanth’s resplendent clips on YouTube.
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