Ironically the one dedicated follower of MANMOHAN DESAI school of film-making (focusing more on entertainment and less on logic) has not been Hindi cinema but South cinema instead, making loads of such films turning into major box office hits in the last few decades. And that's exactly the reason why we get to see repeated remakes of South films, even of a decade old venture RAMANAA (2002) presented as GABBAR IS BACK since it has all those essential elements of entertaining the masses full of larger than life action, revenge, punchy dialogues and fast paced progression not allowing you to think about the missing logic.
But having said that, following a 13 years old hit revolving around the same ‘all seen before’ crusade against corruption in films such as HINDUSTANI, A WEDNESDAY, HOLIDAY, JAI HO, UNGLI and many more, GABBAR IS BACK has nothing fresh in the name of subject matter and thus isn’t able to win over the viewers wholeheartedly as Akshay’s SPECIAL 26 or BABY. Moreover using the name of the most famous villain of Hindi cinema in its title and main dialogues, the team simply tries to make a fool of their audiences gaining some instance attention since the project has nothing to do whatsoever with the evil dacoit of SHOLAY and his infamous persona.
GABBAR IS BACK begins with a few kidnappings shown in its opening sequences only giving you a feeling of ‘Deja-Vu’ as something similar seen before in Akshay’s HOLIDAY (that was also written by A. R. Murugadoss). So its first 40 minutes are strictly routine with many clichéd and unconvincing scenes served with some good action along with a catchy love song having some hilariously written lines (discussed later in details). However, just when the viewers are about to give up, the director comes up with a terrific hospital sequence, revealing the shameful truth behind the exploitation practiced by the hospitals and their pressurized doctors. The particular sequence wins over the viewers in a big way despite the fact that an exactly similar scene was earlier there in GOD TUSSI GREAT HO (2008) having Priyanka Chopra in the place of Akshay Kumar. But obviously no one is expected to remember that forgettable sequence, not given much mileage in that non-performing project as a comedy.
Anyway getting back to GIB, the film impressively pulls in the viewers just before the interval and then again falls back to all routine stuff like a typical Hindi film made on the ages old formula with only one fresh side-angle of Sunil Grover. For instance in the second half, we have an expected tragic background of the hero where he loses his family, gets humiliated and then decides to change the social system taking the bloody path. There is a well shot song depicting his love life and then later a ‘must-have’ item song too featuring Chitrangda Singh, who was once considered with a lot of respect as a talented actress. As usual, there are mentally lost police officials who strangely know nothing about GABBAR (not even his appearance) whereas the loud, hamming villain more concerned about his ‘brand image’ than his own son’s life, can easily get Akshay’s picture from the CC camera footage of his hospital. Adding to the inspirational angle, a particular sequence of the politician being hidden in his own house is straight taken from Sunny Deol’s GHAYAL and the finale crowd scenes look like something highly overused, preachy and unrealistic. In addition the last scene forcibly incorporating the line “Tera Kya Hoga Kaaliya” fails to make any impact due to its weird placement. In other words, the absurd insertions keep coming one after another without caring about the logic, but the tightly written script progressing at a good pace with a pulsating background score doesn’t let you raise a question putting it honestly.
Not treating its women well, the film has a completely silly role given to Shruti Hassan which she also chooses to perform half-heartedly and then we have the cameo of stunning Kareena Kapoor who is strangely there to provide more glamour and not any (much needed) emotional support to the film playing the victim lady. The supporting cast has its own share of annoying actors like the noisy villain, shouting police officers and the over-reacting doctors in the hospital. Plus though GABBAR has a big team of ‘comrades’ working with him for the cause, but the viewers do not really know even one of them properly by name or face.
In straight words, the film is largely saved by only two names considering the performances. And those are of Akshay Kumar playing the cool revolutionary professor with a winning smile and Sunil Grover as the enthusiastic hawaldaar investigating the case on his own. Akshay remains a pleasing and fit figure on screen delivering all the well written dialogues and action sequences with a charming ease. Whereas Sunil Grover, surprises one and all with his sincere act, coming out of his famous image of a funny women popularly known as ‘Guthhi’.
Musically, the title track of “Gabbar Aa Jayega” is enjoyable, two love songs have catchy compositions (but strange lyrics) and the item song is lifted from a Pakistani number “Kundi Na Kharka Sohneya, Sidha Andar Aa”. Giving you the details of the bizarre lyrics, just sample the following in one of its song,
"Aankhen Coffee Peetey Peetey Mil Rahi Hain,
Aankhen Pyar Ke Jhonkon Se Hil Rahi Hain,
Aankhen Pyar Ke Dhaagon Se Sil Rahi Hain"
Here an interesting point to be noted as that in the Youtube official Jukebox of the film, this song clearly has the third line where the eyes are also being stitched with threads of love. But in the film, this line has been intelligently withdrawn, probably after some objection raised by a thinking mind asking “Bhaiya Ye Ankhein Sil Kaise Sakti Hain?”
But wait the stupidity doesn’t stop here as the song further says,
"Saansein Achanak Uchhalney Lagi Hain,
Nazrein Yeh Baatein Ugalney Lagi Hain,
Certainly something I haven’t heard before as a reference to ‘Sansein’ and ‘Baatein’ in a love song.
Next coming to the second and more beautifully shot track ‘Teri Meri Kahani’, its lyrics begin with the male singer calling the beloved as a female gender,
“Mujh Mein Safar Tu Karti Rahey,
Har Ik Saans Mein Guzarti Rahey”
But with the very next line the gender changes as,
“Shaam-o-Subah Tu Mera,
Tere Bina Kya Mera”
whereas the singer remains male only. (Chalo Itna To Chalta Hai!)
Summing up, GABBAR IS BACK directed by Krish (from South) has an okay cinematography, clever editing, some powerful dialogues and an uplifting background score, collectively pointing towards a relevant theme of corruption with all noble intentions and two key performances to enjoy. But since its content matter more or less remains the same with nothing fresh or innovative to offer lacking a lot on the logical grounds, the film doesn’t turn out to be anything more than a one-time watch and that too preferably in a single screen theater to have a better entertaining experience.
Besides the fact to be considered seriously is that since the 80s, films have been made featuring a personal mission undertaken against the corrupt system, but this demon of corruption is still haunting us all with no major change seen in the last few decades. May be because we widely consider such attempts made just for our three hours of entertainment alone and the message is not to be taken along while moving out of the theatres contributing in the social drive. So if possible just think about it too in case you enjoy watching the typical masala entertainer looking forward towards a better society ahead for the coming generations.
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (Including additional 0.5 only for its noble, inspirational theme.)