If I say Rohit Shetty’s latest film Suryavanshi was much awaited, it would not be an exaggeration. That’s because in his last cop film Simba released in 2018 itself, he had shown a glimpse of what’s coming – Another addition to his cop universe after Singham and Simba but this time with his Khatron Ka Khiladi mate Akshay Kumar in the lead. In general, I would call Shetty’s films as FTP films. And they are of 2 types. FTP as in Full Time Pass (like Singham, Simba etc…) and Faltu Time Pass (Golmaal series, Chennai Express…). Luckily, this one falls in the former type.
Generally film makers conceive a film with a one line story line, then draft the screen play by adding scenes and then song/dance elements, stunts etc… Rohit Shetty is different. He conceives a one line story line and adds action set pieces with song/dance and comedy thrown in between. In short, Shetty doesn’t direct a film. He directs an elaborate action sequence which is called a “Rohit Shetty Film”. And this template has worked for him more often than not. In Suryavanshi also, he choreographs and directs a string of action set pieces breaking his own record of the number of cars being blown. The film is replete with his favourite helicopter shots and of course shots of helicopters themselves!
The story line is one which is now very familiar to us from a score of films and web series. – Of terrorism engineered from across the border and the attempts of our forces to quell the same. In this, it is about RDX left behind from the 1993 Mumbai blasts and how another 1993 is averted. Shetty and his team of writers fill the film with familiar tropes of Hindu-Muslim unity and good Muslim-bad Muslim stereotypes. I can imagine the raucous applause some of these scenes would have evoked in theatres. Not surprising that the makers decided to wait it out to give the film a full theatrical release post Covid.
Akshay Kumar playing the title role of the cop Veer Suryavanshi from the Mumbai ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) is super fit as usual, energetic and plays this role with complete ease. But you can see in close ups that age is catching up. I have now lost count of the number of films in which Akshay Kumar is shown as torn between duty and family. In this film, it is the turn of Katrina Kaif playing his wife to bear the brunt of Akshay’s sense of responsibility. Katrina as Dr. Ria plays the angry young wife part to perfection while being of course hot in that rain song! Ranveer Singh makes a guest appearance as Simba and steals the thunder. The original Rohit Shetty’s cop hero – Ajay Devgn completes the cast with an appearance at the end and the scenes with all three of them in one frame are massy.
Akshay’s character is shown as being forgetful of names even of his near and dear. In one scene he calls his wife Ria as Syria! While the writing is comical and cheeky most of the times, it is also terrible in some instances like this. The screen play has borrowed sequences from quite of few earlier films with the same theme and hence has a ring of familiarity to it. In the 2nd half, the action sequences are long and go on and on.
Rohit Shetty’s films are for the moment. They are not to be analysed for logic or reason. He has perfected the formula for perfect masala films which have the right mix of Action, Action, Action, humour, story and music. Not just getting the mix right, his films also are high on technique and made reasonably well. He also understands the audience’s connect with the star and accordingly positions them well on screen. The camera work is grand. The editing is pacey. Writing is laced with tongue’n cheek humour. And lastly, action sequences are brilliantly directed. Suryavanshi is not an exception. It is a FTP i.e. Full Time Pass film that is worth a watch once and forget. Now streaming on Netflix.
P.S: If Rajinikanth is looking for a director for his next film, I would recommend Rohit Shetty.