ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD
i

'Fighter' Review: Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone Film Takes Off, Doesn't Soar

Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

Published
Movie Reviews
4 min read
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large

'Fighter' Review: Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone Film Takes Off, Doesn't Soar

I can’t help but wonder if jobs for dialogue writers in Bollywood are going to be scarce considering almost every film at this point uses the same template and sometimes even almost identical dialogues. The ‘hum baap hai’ and ‘ghar mai ghuske maarenge’ brand of jingoism might be diluted in Siddharth Anand’s Fighter but it’s still very much alive and breathing.

Other than being harmful messaging lacking nuance about matters of war and diplomacy, this makes a film frustrating to watch, at this point. Another problem is the film’s tendency to ‘tell don’t show’. Even the anti-India hate that the terrorist spews feels lifted from other films which grossly reduces the intended menace.

But, I digress. In Fighter, two new air force pilots arrive at a base with skepticism about their new posting – the fact that they’ve been asked to arrive in an emergency can’t possibly mean good news. Here they meet helicopter pilot Squadron Leader Minal Rathore (Deepika Padukone) and await the arrival of Squadron Leader Shamsher Pathania (Hrithik Roshan) who is introduced as a superhero. If you’re thinking of Tom Cruise from Top Gun, you’re on the right track.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD
Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

Hrithik Roshan in a still from Fighter.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Shamsher tends to disregard his seniors’ orders and has an ego large enough to be a separate person on its own but he has a heart of gold. Roshan has played men in uniform before and to nobody’s surprise wears it well. If you’re a Hrithik Roshan fan, then this film is going to be a Roshan extravaganza for you. Shamsher is supposed to have a certain swagger to him mixed with an earnesty you can’t miss and Roshan feels like the perfect actor for that.

Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

Deepika Padukone in a still from Fighter.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Padukone gets a pretty standard storyline – she is a woman in the Air Force trying to stick it to a misogynist society that thinks ‘women can’t do it’. It’s a nice storyline to have but it would’ve been better for her to have a more layered character. Her star power is on full display in Fighter, though if you’re wondering; but then again, when is it not?

The promotional material for Fighter doesn’t do justice to the relationship between Shamsher and Minal – the latter pursuing the former, how he deals with his own personal baggage, and just how cute they are together. This film is also evidence that Hrithik Roshan has chemistry with everyone he looks at.

0
Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

A still from Fighter.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The main antagonist in Fighter is the Islamic State terrorist Azhar Akhtar (Rishab Sawhney in his debut). His commanding screen presence helps to lift the character out of the boring caricature that he could’ve become. The menace that his dialogues take away is brought back by his act (still not a great villain to be honest). Some of Fighter’s scenes are cringe-inducing at best – one scene with the fake Russian accent made me want to slink away into a corner while a pilot in the Pakistan Air Force wearing kohl just had me rolling my eyes.

Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

A still from Fighter.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The Top Gun comparisons are honestly not far from the truth – the storyline seems different, even if predictable, but the character motivations and even Shamsher’s character arc feel like they mirror Tom Cruise’s action vehicle. But, to its credit, Fighter is brilliantly mounted. The aerial action sequences are awe-inducing and the hand-to-hand combat scenes don’t feel shabby either. The editing and camerawork help to elevate this film within its genre. It’s rare to see a film that understands how to shoot aerial action shots – in that field, Fighter is an accomplishment for sure.

Siddharth Anand's 'Fighter' is currently running in cinemas.

Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan in a still from 'Sher Khul Gaye'.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

I doubt, however, if the scale of Fighter will translate to a smaller screen; the film feels like a strictly big screen affair. The music, on the other hand, isn’t that memorable. ‘Sher Khul Gaye’ is uncannily ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by Bee Gees and ‘Heer Asmaani’ is decent but the film’s most effective song is ‘Mitti’.

Scripted by Ramon Chibb with Siddharth Anand, Fighter would’ve benefited from more nuance and much less jingoism – most of which feels like it's there for mass appeal. The film also tries to understand the carmraderie of military life and pays attention to proceedings (even if it is eventually ignored to give the hero his hero’s journey). I assume a sequel is imminent – lets hope it keeps the skill and works on the messaging.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from entertainment and movie-reviews

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
×
×