Saturday, September 03, 2016


The Lady Fights

It is a rule in films that if a character has a skill, it will come to full use in the script. That’s why the leading lady in Akira is seen learning martial arts (and sign language) as a child.

There is also another rule in Indian films—if a woman is a trained fighter, she cannot just enjoy her power, or put it to good use; she has to go through the full gamut of suffering, a kind of punishment as it were, for not being suitably submissive. In this AG Murugadoss film, everybody seems to strain to give grief to Akira Sharma (Sonakshi Sinha).

Taught by her father (Atul Kulkarni) to fight against molesters of women, she thrashes a bunch of goons, and ends up in a remand home, because nobody is willing to testify on her behalf. What she goes through in there is not deemed important; the film catches up with her fourteen years later, when she unwillingly shifts from Jodhpur to Mumbai along with her mother, to live with her brother and his snippy wife. In her new college, she gets into a fight with the college bullies, but that’s just for starters.

In a parallel plot, the supernasty ACP Rane (Anurag Kashyap) and his loyal cohorts murder a man to steal a bag full of cash. He gets into a blackmail situation that necessitates more killing, and in a very convoluted way, Akira gets involved in the mess. She ends up in a mental asylum from where she has to punch and kick her way out of the traps laid for her by Rane. Konkona Sensharma makes a too brief appearance as a pregnant cop (inspired by Fargo?), who acts as a foil to Rane.

Sonakshi Sinha is competent enough, and does not play Akira as a obvious toughie; unfortunately for her, Rane and his shenanigans result in her being off the screen for long stretches. Kashyap plays the baddie with such relish that he makes everyone else pale in comparison, including Akira, who spends most of her time looking helpless and the remaining in action set pieces that are too quick to leave an impact.  A dash of flamboyance and fire would have made Akira more likeable.


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