Yodha Review | An Earnest Sidharth Malhotra Can’t Save This Logicless Jingoistic Torture

There are some bits in the second half of Yodha, the new Dharma Productions film directed by Sagar Ambre and Pushkar Ojha, which has a lot of action happening inside an aeroplane, that will give you an impression that they had an earnest intention to create an action movie. But even a good action movie is a product of good writing. Barring the ability of Sidharth Malhotra to carry the character with swagger and some bits of well-choreographed action, Yodha is the same jingoistic package Bollywood is obsessed with.

Arun Katyal is a soldier who is part of this special force named the Yodha Task Force. It is a wing of the army that his late father started. Arun, who is known for disobeying commands, ultimately had to pay the price when he couldn’t save a VIP from a plane hijack. Years later, another plane hijack happens, and this time Arun was there inside that plane in a different role. What happens in that journey is what we see in Yodha.

The trailer and teaser of the movie suggest the possibility of Arun going rogue as the system failed him earlier. Well, we all have the common sense to guess that he wouldn’t really do anything that bad, and Sagar Ambre, who wrote this film, has no ambition to surprise us by making him a bad guy. The writing here is pretty flat and relies heavily on the execution of the action scenes. You have the usual “how did he become a soldier” backstory featuring the cheesy lines of the father. Then, an obvious romantic track and finally, the movie gets into that hijack phase. As I said, some of the action bits in the film are terrific. The fistfight happening inside the plane during the second hijack had the actors fighting in a swirling aircraft, and the execution looked superb. But the problem is that it almost feels like they assembled some story so that they could pull off this set piece.

SPOILER ALERT! Post Shershaah, there has been a considerable improvement in how Sidharth Malhotra performed action bits in films, and that truly helps Yodha enormously. He looks believable as an NSG-equivalent Yodha. Even though the filmy romantic bits are too cheesy, there wasn’t much of that for us to tolerate. Raashi Khanna plays the role of Arun’s partner, Priyamvadha Katyal, who is surprisingly less aware of Arun’s professional life despite holding a key position in the same profession. Disha Patani, as flight attendant Laila, looks beautiful, and post the not-so-surprising twist associated with that character, I loved how she transformed into an action star. The talented Sunny Hinduja gets a forgettable role as the film’s main antagonist.

The imagination of Sagar Ambre is outrageous on paper as it defies logic on many levels. You have an Indian Airplane landing on a major road in Islamabad, and an Indian soldier is single-handedly saving his wife and the Prime Minister of India from Pakistan soil. After a fairly tolerable abuse of logic in the plane chapter, Ambre and Ojha are just going the Bhaagi way with an excessive amount of patriotism. There are scenes at the beginning and end of the movie where our hero is using a tricolour smoke bomb to show the victory of India. The visual effects by Red Chillies VFX are inconsistent, and in some scenes, the CGI is pretty obvious because the writing itself had no regard for physics.

If the visual of an Indian soldier, walking in slow motion with a tricolour smoke bomb in his hands, after killing many terrorists in a building in Islamabad is giving you goosebumps, then this movie might well be for you. For the rest of us, who are fed up with hypernationalistic tortures, Yodha is a forgettable action flick with an earnest Sidharth Malhotra.

Final Thoughts

Barring the ability of Sidharth Malhotra to carry the character with swagger and some bits of well-choreographed action, Yodha is the same jingoistic package Bollywood is obsessed with.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.