Bade Miyan Chote Miyan joins the ‘great’ illogical actioners’ club

Akshay Kumar, Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F and Tiger J. Shroff in the visual from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Photo: Universal Communications

It’s become a fast and furious (pun intended!) film festival. It began in Hindi cinema as a patriotic exercise with Pathaan and Jawan and went on to Tiger 3 and  now Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. A phantasmagoria of action sprinkled with patriotic fervor and a modicum of a story (and back-stories) form the recipe for such dishes that are meant only for an extravaganza of buffet entertainment for undemanding audiences. Sadly, this quantum of ‘mission impossible’ is increasing, as we realize right from the time of excrescences like KGF2 and Animal as well.

Freddy (Akshay Kumar) and Rocky (now Tiger J. Shroff after disasters like Heropanti 2 and Ganapath!) are two ace operatives of the Indian military who have been now court-martialed for a technical reason. As in all such stories globally, they are recalled as the only men capable of meeting a 3-day deadline for India to recover their most vital and technologically-advanced warfare weapon, the Karan Kavach, which has been usurped by a renegade Indian scientist, who also needs to be neutralized. The Kavach can prevent any missile from harming India and we have China and Pakistan all baying for India’s blood!

Freddy and Rocky are capable of achieving the impossible and are also prone to defy authority when fully motivated. Their new adventures take them to England and more and they, along with a globetrotting agent named Misha (Manushi Chhillar) who sprints to China and back safely overnight and a techno geek named Pam (Alaya F.), execute a deadly heist—under London’s Waterloo Station. A few British vehicles and officers are destroyed, but so what? The seeming logic seems that Britain destroyed so much of India and Indians! In fact, there is mention even of the Kohinoor diamond, in humor of course!

Finally, they must come face-to-face with the renegade who is an Indian, Kabir (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who explains his motives for all the wrongdoings. His bunch of assistant scientists, all Indians, become anti-Indians at his (single) command!

The publicity material promised us twists at every step, but other than twisting logic even more and more, the actual plot surprises are barely there except at interval point.

Akshay Kumar, Tiger J. Shroff, their boss, Colonel Azad (Ronit B. Roy) and Prithviraj are each technically in dual roles (no spoilers here, so let’s leave it at this point!) and go through the motions. The Akshay-Tiger chemistry is a lukewarm revisit to the senior actor’s chemistry with Saif Ali Khan and Suniel Shetty over the decades, and but for some easy humor on Tiger’s part, there is nothing extraordinary in anyone’s performances.

Ronit B. Roy is as effective as always, but Manish Prakash Chaudhari (again a name change for obvious reason) fares much better in a briefer role. Sonakshi Sinha as the human ‘machine’ (watch the movie to know more!) is alright. Alaya F. puts in a spirited performance as Pam in a sketchy role. And to say that Manushi Chhillar puts it a better effort than in all her past films is to state the obvious!

As for Prithviraj, he is the classic Hindi film antagonist, who does everything that the Prem Chopra’s, Ajit’s, Amjad Khan’s and Amrish Puri’s once did, minus their persona and effective voices of course.

Ali Abbas Zafar was once a director to reckon with, and I had termed him among the best director discoveries of the millennium after his ascending graph (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Gunday, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai), but since Bharat (where the graph took a good dip), his work seems to be going into a tailspin as indicated by Tandav (the web series) and his OTT releases, Jogi, Bloody Daddy and production,  Khaali Peeli. In fact, it would be near-sacrilege to compare this one with his last patriotic actioner, Tiger Zinda Hai.

If the film is not a disaster, it is only thanks to the awesome cinematography (Marcin Laskawiec), the action (Craig Macrae and Parvez Shaikh) and the sharp editing by Steven Bernard. The pace is super-fast and if we enjoy all the above aspects, we will not be bored, as we are also mentally musing on the absurdities shown with such confidence!

Julius Packiam scores background music as briefed (against his normal high standards), while the songs (Vishal Mishra) are a massive catastrophe. Watch this 2.44 hour spectacle only if you have a yen for hollow, star-driven fare that apes the Hollywood genres of logic-less action dramas.






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