Director: Ahmed Khan
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Ritiesh Deshmukh, Jackie Shroff
Indian fans don’t like when their heroes are at the receiving end of kicks and punches. If you are India’s foremost action star Tiger Shroff, getting beaten up can apparently make your film go from a hit to an also ran. The actor had explained the audience’s middling response to his Student of The Year 2, “ because he was roughed up by a couple of college toughies in the film. “My fans couldn’t digest that,” Tiger had said.
Baaghi 3 seems to be a direct reaction to that thought. In the third iteration of the Baaghi franchise, Tiger is beating up anything and everything that can be broken or shredded — men, cars, tanks, helicopters, his shirts. He bounces off buildings, treads on air; delivers triple round kicks and does devastating stuff with his hands and feet. But somewhere between him decimating helicopters and blowing up tanks, my suspension of disbelief snapped; and I have been trained well by Hindi cinema.
After bringing a few bad men to their knees in the Baaghi franchise, Tiger Shroff is up against a nation, a fact the film never lets us forget. In fact, once Tiger lands up at his doorstep in Baaghi 3’s climax, the kohl-eyed warlord wonders whether he is being pummeled by the US, Russia or the Mossad.
If we purely go by the scale Baaghi 3 attempts, Baaghi 4 will at least need to have an army of three-eyed aliens being kicked back into space by Tiger: The Lone Avenger. In fact, Baaghi 3 would have made sense if Tiger’s superhuman strength came from a scientist’s test tube or because he is a ‘genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist’ in his spare time.
As it is, Tiger’s wins come from the fact that director Ahmed Khan seems to have given all the thought to the action and absolutely none to other aspects of this film. The story itself is creaky with age – younger brother Ronnie (Tiger Shroff) promises to always take care of his older but more timid sibling Vikram (Riteish Deshmukh). The jumpy Vikram is compelled to become a police inspector in Agra by his brother on the promise that he will always be there to help him.
Ronnie does the heavy lifting while Vikram is there to accept the medals. However, as they clean up the city, they fall foul of a local criminal IPL (Jaideep Ahlawat) who has links with an ISIS-like organization from Syria, interestingly called Jaish-e-Lashkar. Vikram is sent to extradite IPL but is kidnapped, forcing Ronnie to cut a swath through the country.
Before you jump to any conclusion, Baaghi 3 has absolutely nothing to do with geo-politics or, for that matter, common sense. There might be a nation and army pursuing Ronnnie, but they would rather be killed than shoot first. The reason why people are being kidnapped from south Asia and being sent to Syria is pulpy to the point of being hilarious. Vijay Verma’s Pakistani character gets his accent from Hyderabad for some reason.
The film’s jokes are as lame as its story. IPL stands for Inder Paheli Lamba and he likes to ask riddles; Satish Kaushik’s police commissioner is called BMC aka Bhookelal Moohpe Chatore – you get the picture.
Even the dialogues on parivaar and pyaar are atleast 30 years too old for today, as is the ham-fisted message on communal harmony. Also, it is strange how ‘India Pakistan bhai bhai’ message fits in the same film that shows extra-judicial killing and dishes out such sage one-liners – “Agar bade gunde apne liye gunde rakh sakte hain to police wale gunde kyon nahi rakh sakte?” However, I am assuming the damage would be limited because Baaghi 3 is as incompetent at this as it is at everything else.
Perhaps realizing the limitations of their film, actors offer you extra — everybody seems to be happily hamming it up. Tiger is limited in emotional scenes, Shraddha Kapoor has little to do other than being perky before interval and tanned after it, Ritiesh’s namby-pamby act gets repetitive, and Vijay Varma and Jaideep Ahlawat are happy sleep-walking through their roles. There are a mind-numbing 140 minutes of this; thankfully Tiger is kicking and punching during most of it.
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