Maaro, Akira, Maaro!
Sonakshi Sinha plays Akira, a girl who has been taught to stand up to bullies from her childhood. She stands in the way of a bunch of crooked cops headed by Anurag Kashyap. What unfolds keeps you hooked for one hundred and thirty eight minutes. As they say, ‘Full Paisa Vasool!’
There’s action, there’s lots of drama, and there’s a new reason to hate cops: Anurag Kashyap. He chews the scenery as one of the best crooked cops one has seen in the last few years, pouring into that uniform as if it were made for him. Each time he enters the frame you wonder how much more evil he is capable of creating. And all because his bunch is as stupid as they come. His, ‘Galat ladki to utha laaye, Manik!’ (‘You picked the wrong girl, manik!’) is as ominous as it gets.
The girl in question is Akira, played by Sonakshi Sinha. You have seen her in roles where she plays a simpering miss to every hero, whether it is Salman Khan or Shahid Kapoor or Arjun Kapoor. A simpering miss who bats her large eyes, wears ghagras and sarees and pretty jhumkas, waiting to be rescued from her ordinary life. Well, in this avatar, she has a cool shorn head of hair, she’s wearing pants and kurtis, the jhumkas are gone too. And even though her eyes remain large, there’s a storm in them that cannot be mistaken for anything else.
The best part about Sonakshi Sinha playing Akira? She kicks serious butt. She can hold her own when it comes to college bullies, and it’s not just during the fight in the college canteen that you burst out into instantaneous applause, but also outside when the college bully comes at her with an exacto knife. Woah! It surprises everyone. And the audience needed a new action hero. Here, we found one.
The second half of the film drags a bit (with Konkona on a track to uncover the crime that originally involves Anurag and co., the track of keeping Akira confined), but then it offers a climax worth the wait. Konkona Sen Sharma (good cop Rabia Sultan), Mishiekka Arora (plays young Akira really well!), Atul Kulkarni (Akira’s dad), Smita Jaykar (Akira’s mom) all offer great support to the main cast. Alas, the bad cops too all play ‘bad’ guys really well, have not been offered credit on the cast and crew pages at this time. They deserve a pat on their backs too.
Dir Murugadoss remakes the 2011 Tamil movie Mouna Garu (starring Arulnidhi and Iniya, directed by Santha Kumar) and turns it on its head by giving Sonakshi the lead. The movie was also a hit in Kannada (Guru) and in Telugu (Nara Rohith’s Shankara).
It’s been a long time since we watched an action flick without the necessary song and dance romance track. It exists in the film too (poor Amit Sadh gets that ineffective role), but we could have done without it too. If the mother had been given a better role than just the token one, the film could have been different. But on the whole, the movie makes you happy munching popcorn while the heroine cracks bones, makes you laugh cheesily when the creepy villain gets served his desserts. As they say, ‘Paisa Vasool!’ (Full Value For Money)
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)