An Action Hero, the new Ayushmann Khurrana starrer action flick, is actually a smart satire that wins you over with its outlandishness. It starts as a revenge drama that has to do much with fragile masculine ego. But writer-director Anirudh Iyer uses the fertile plot to create something bizarre and novel. Out of all the issue-based movies Ayushmann Khurrana has done, it was a bit of a surprise that An Action Hero feels like the most pertinent one.
Maanav is this big Bollywood superstar with this action-hero image and all the arrogance that comes with it. At one point, when he was shooting in Haryana, a local political leader Bhoora Solanki sent his younger brother Vicky Solanki to click a picture with Maanav, which might help them in the upcoming election. But the star tantrums of Maanav result in a face-off between the two, eventually resulting in the accidental death of Vicky. Maanav immediately flies out of the country, and knowing Maanav’s involvement, Bhoora follows him. We see how this cat-and-mouse game develops into something huge in An Action Hero.
What is smart about Anirudh’s making is the way he takes the movie into that satiric space. In the early part of the film, where the death of Vicky happens, we anticipate a clash of egos. But what we would assume will happen in the movie’s climax happens in the next twenty minutes. And you quickly realize that Maanav versus Bhoora is not really the aim here. An Action Hero serves as a critique of both Bollywood and the media outlets. In a way, it tells Bollywood that you allowed this to happen. The TRP starving media trials are kept in the backdrop for sure, but in the second half, the way those 8 PM courtrooms are trolled is just hilarious.
The concept, which has a spoofy angle to its credit, allows Anirudh Iyer to be less concerned about the practical logic part of the film. When Maanav becomes that Tom Cruise kind of action hero, you are not really bothered about the over-the-top nature of those sequences as the film’s focus is more on how he ended up in such a situation. The ego-driven track of the Bhoora character felt like a misfit to the narrative in the initial patches. But I liked how the dynamic changes over time, and the sequence featuring India’s most dreaded criminal was hilarious.
Ayushmann Khurrana knows how not to push the character into a parody zone. Maanav’s arrogance and exhaustion are palpable. The versatile Jaideep Ahlawat as Bhoora looks easily intimidating, and actually, in the second half, there is a lot of banter-comedy in which Ahlawat is in full form. Actor Neeraj Madhav was really impressive in his brief appearance in the second half as the hacker. Jitender Hooda, who played the role of the police officer, was hilarious.
From hyper-nationalistic TRP-driven media to the fragile male ego, An Action Hero covers a lot of ground using its license to mock. I was a bit skeptical about how the main track would culminate as it rarely deviated into a grey zone. But as the movie went on, that track just became a tool for creating an enjoyable black comedy.
Out of all the issue-based movies Ayushmann Khurrana has done, it was a bit of a surprise that An Action Hero feels like the most pertinent one.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended