Saturday, October 19, 2013


Rowdy and Rowdier

The film opens with Amitabh Bachchan’s voice, establishing the setting as Kurukshetra, making it sound as if what we are going to watch over the next few reels is an epic battle on the scale of the Mahabharat.

But all it means in Anthony D’Souza’s Boss (remake of the Southern hit Pokkiri Raja), is that some characters speak in a weird accent, supposed to be Haryanvi.  Basically, Bollywood is recycling its own old formula, returned with some technical polish by commercial cinema from the South. Again, it doesn’t mean much—only that the action scenes have a lot of wire work, people flying all over the place when the hero raises his fists. The hero is another version of Rowdy Rathore.

The plot doesn’t matter, it picks up its head weakly between the fights and songs. There is a father-son conflict and a villain.  This is a rare film that doesn’t bother to give the leading man called Boss (Akshay Kumar) a love interest. For the many dance numbers, he makes do with back up dancers, and for one cheesy club sequence, Sonakshi Sinha turns up to shake a leg.  Like in the real Haryana, women have no place in this film, Aditi Rai Hydari steps out of a pool in a bikini and is then put on the shelf. The point of her existence is her nasty brother ACP Thakur (Ronit Roy), who is evil for the sake of it.  Another point of conflict is that Thakur wants his sister to marry the home minister’s son, and she is in love with Boss’s brother Shiv (Pandit).  It all ends in a big duel in the sand-- probably not even in Kurukshetra, looks like Dubai.

 Boss is called thus because he was adopted by Big Boss (Danny Denzongpa) an unusual ‘goonda’ in that he only takes contracts to kill bad people.  AK Hangal seems to have passed his dhoti-kutra, gamchha and round glasses to Mithun Chakraborty, as the kind of stubborn father who refuses to listen to his son’s problems and ends up mistreating him. But the son literally worships the ground the old man walks on.

The Boss old and new, are the feudal sort who don’t sit on a chair, they snap their fingers and their minions bend to form a human rocking chair.  Boss’s punchline is “Apna to kaam hai paani nikalna.”  When his sweat falls on the earth, a plant sprouts.  “Paseena mein itna power?” says an astonished man. “Isko kehten hain power plant,” says Boss.

Yes, it’s that kind of film... now go give it the 100 crores it is begging for.


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