Yodha: Illogic looms high in another action fiesta

Sidharth Malhotra in Yodha. Photo: Hype PR

I lost count of the number of vicious blows (by hand, metal and what-have-you) Arun Katyal (Sidharth Malhotra) receives on all parts of his body, apart from a wound on his arm. He still fights on land and air, single-handedly annihilates a whole gang of terrorists, and foils a heinous mission by their leader, Rafiq (Sunny Hinduja) to assassinate the Pakistani PM (Tiger 3, anyone?). Also, a massive explosion takes place in the building in which Arun is battling the baddies, and he walks out, unscathed!

What’s more, in true comic book fashion (the film’s makers have also released a comic book set), the hero is invincible. There is a stubborn emotional angle too—his father (Ronit Roy in a cameo) has been responsible for starting the elite soldiers’ wing, Yodha, and now, Arun must vindicate it, as largely due to his own rashness and daredevilry the unit now faces closure from the superiors.

We have two hijacks, one in which a scientist is killed and another in which 200 passengers’ lives are at stake. And both involve Arun, who is even accused (falsely, obviously) of being the hijacker.

The plot has a husband and wife working in different key departments of the government (Operation Valentine, recently, was said to have something on similar lines). This married couple, Arun and wife, Priyamvada (Raashii Khanna), love each other but for reasons not really clear have filed for divorce. The wife, a secretary of state, is important enough, of course, to accompany the prime minister to Pakistan for peace talks (like in co-release Bastar: The Naxal Story, this film is set in the 2010s), and so, we are now in Main Hoon NaTiger 3-Yash Raj’s Indo-Pak amity mode.

The film offers breathless pace and action to compensate for loopholes in the script as wide as a sieve, like only one air-hostess being there on a flight during the decisive moments, and one or two suddenly appearing later! A flight trainee, Tanya (Kritika Bharadwaj) manages the plane expertly and an inquisitive and eccentric passenger interferes in what is going on. There are SMS messages galore, unclear details about how and why Arun is now handed a boarding-pass different from his earlier plan and many other unexplained things, but the idea is to go on a relentless trip of intense action. The internal sequences of the plane going out of control and the resultant chaos are brilliantly done by the VFX team and technicians. And I liked the intense plane toilet fight too.

Twists every now and then heighten the audience’s thrill quotient minus any substantial base. Sidharth Malhotra has now almost exclusively specialized in patriotic action enterprises, but in this department, had got lucky with his brilliant Shershaah and Mission Majnu. This time, however, he is in Indian Police Force zone—which is action for the sake of it, and little more. He is alright, but, as I said, this promising actor needs to choose better vehicles for his abilities, and I would like to see him vary his genres now as well before becoming a militant modern avatar of Manoj Kumar!

Raashii Khanna is sincere as his wife, and though the role isn’t much, one wishes that Sidharth’s real wife, Kiara Advani, would have been cast to deliver more punch. Disha Patani is a delight, even more so as this is probably her first role without skin-show! And Kritika Bhardwaj as the rookie pilot Tanya is truly delightful.

Chittaranjan Tripathy as Dhingra is well-cast in his brief role. Sunny Hinduja is apt as Rafiq, while Tanuj Virwani is okay as Arun’s friend. The rest of the cast has nothing really to do.

The debut directors are quite decent and need to work with better scripts. The music has little to offer, though Zindagi tere naam ki, composed, sung and co-written deftly by Vishal Mishra, sounds pleasant. Singer B. Praak and lyricist Manoj Muntashir Shukla attempt a passable reprise of Teri mitti from Kesari in Tiranga composed by Tanishk Bagchi. The background score by John Stewart Eduri is overdone.

Sagar Ambre (writer of the frenetic Pathaan) writes and co-directs this film with Pushkar Ojha and this orgy of fists and fury might just work with the undemanding audience of today, but I, for one, am quite disappointed.

Amazon Prime Video, Dharma Prodcutions & Mentor Disciple Entertainment present Yodha  Produced by: Hiroo Johar, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta & Shashank Khaitan  Directed by: Sagar Ambre & Pushkar Ojha  Written by : Sagar Ambre  Music: Vishal Mishra, Tanishk Bagchi, B. Praak, Jaani & Aditya Dev  Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Disha Patani, Raashii Khanna, Sunny Hinduja, Tanuj Virwani, Kritika Bharadwaj Sp. App.: Ronit Roy & others




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