Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Fighter Movie Review: FIGHTER is a paisa vasool patriotic entertainer

FIGHTER is the story of a brave Air Force unit and their adventures. The year is 2019. With Pakistan intensifying operations against India, the Indian Air Force sets up a new unit called Air Dragons. It comprises Squadron Leader Shamsher Pathania aka Patty (Hrithik Roshan), Squadron Leader Minal Rathore aka Minni (Deepika Padukone), Squadron Leader Sartaj Gill (Karan Singh Grover), Squadron Leader Basheer Khan (Akshay Oberoi), Sukhi (Banveen Singh) and others. It is headed by Rakesh Jai Singh aka Rocky (Anil Kapoor), who detests Patty due to a past incident. The unit members bond well and also train themselves for any eventuality. Patty and Minni get attracted to each other. On February 14, 2019, they are sent to Jammu for an operation. On the way, they come across a contingent of CRPF jawans and the Air Dragons unit briefly interacts with them. Later, the Air Dragons officers learn that those CRPF officers were killed in a suicide attack at Pulwama. India decides to fight back. Patty heads the mission and successfully destroys a militant base at Balakot in Pakistan. Pakistan is stunned by the development. This is when they are provoked into taking action by a terrorist mastermind, Azhar Akhtar (Rishabh Ravinder Sawhney). Patty fights back with his team but it has disastrous consequences. He’s also compelled to face his past demons. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Siddharth Anand and Ramon Chibb’s story is a bit clichéd but is well-written and the aerial aspect gives a nice touch to the overall film. Ramon Chibb’s screenplay is terrific and very engaging. The characters are well-fleshed out and also, the conflict is explained in a simple manner. The writing, however, could have been tighter. Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal’s dialogues (additional dialogues by Biswapati Sarkar) are witty, funny and massy in some very important scenes.

Siddharth Anand’s direction is slick and supreme. The blockbuster filmmaker knows the pulse of the audience and also how to add scale and grandeur to a film. As a result, the film makes for an ideal big-screen experience. This was expected from him but what would surprise the audience is that this time, Siddharth delivers a mainstream film which is high on emotions. His earlier works, WAR [2019] and PATHAAN [2023], too, had some touching scenes. But in FIGHTER, he has taken this aspect to another level. And it works big time as the audience gets invested in the goings-on deeply and wants the heroes to emerge triumphant.

On the flipside, there’s very little action in the first half of the post-interval portion. Also, the film gets a bit lengthy at this point. Moreover, the product placement is quite in the face. Lastly, the villain track is not convincing and is very over the top.

FIGHTER doesn’t waste any time and the story moves forward from the first scene. Minni’s entry scene is great but watch out for Patty’s entry. Some might draw parallels with Hrithik’s entry shot in WAR but nevertheless, it makes an impact. The comic scenes that follow keep the interest going, especially Patty asking for Biryani in the restaurant. The Balakot air strike scene comes sooner than expected. The intermission point is nail-biting. After the interval, the emotional scenes take centre stage. The Abhijeet Rathore (Ashutosh Rana) track is a masterstroke and would be loved by the moviegoers. The tragic song also contributes to the emotional quotient. The finale is totally paisa-vasool.

Fighter Official Trailer | Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Anil Kapoor, Siddharth Anand

Speaking of performances, Hrithik Roshan is in top form. He looks extremely dashing and plays to the gallery with his action and sarcastic and massy dialogues. But he also impresses in the scenes where he has to act vulnerable. Deepika Padukone has slightly less screen time and one wishes she had more to do. Nevertheless, her character is well thought out and the makers have delivered a solid message with her track. Performance-wise, she is terrific, as expected. Anil Kapoor performs ably and also contributes to the whistles and claps in some scenes. Akshay Oberoi and Karan Singh Grover are superb and lend able support. Rishabh Ravinder Sawhney looks menacing but he should have kept his performance in check. Ashutosh Rana rocks the show in a cameo. The same goes for Sharib Hashmi (Varthaman). Sanjeeda Sheikh (Sanchi) and Talat Aziz are decent. The others who do well are the actors playing Basheer’s father, Officer Unni, Officer Harish Nautiyal aka Nauty, Naina Jaising and Neha Joshi.

Vishal-Sheykhar’s music doesn’t work as intended. ‘Ishq Jaisa Kuch’ appears in the end credits and is picturized beautifully. But the soundtrack is forgettable. ‘Sher Khul Gaye’ is catchy. ‘Heer Aasmani’ and ‘Dil Banaane Waaleya’ are well-woven into the narrative. ‘Mitti’ is the best song of the lot. ‘Bekaar Dil’ is missing from the film. Sanchit Balhara And Ankit Balhara’s background score has a big-screen cinematic appeal.

Satchith Paulose’s cinematography is quite rich. Seayoung Oh, Parvez Shaikh and Sunil Rodrigues’ action is not too violent and easy to understand, despite the characters fighting from the air planes. Redefine and DNEG’s VFX is top-class. Rajat Poddar’s production design is superior. Shaleena Nathani, Lakshmi Lehr and Niharika Jolly’s costumes are appealing. Aarif Sheikh’s editing could have been tighter.

On the whole, FIGHTER is a paisa-vasool patriotic entertainer that ticks all the right boxes. The film rests on Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone’s terrific performances, big-screen appeal, massy action scenes and some very strong emotional moments. At the box office, the film will start slow on Day 1 but has the potential to pick up big time and emerge as a hit.

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