Director: Krish

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Suman Talwar, Shruti Haasan 

Gabbar is a selective murderer. He only goes after the corrupt. Aided by a determined team of his former students, Gabbar, who is otherwise a professor named Aditya, weeds out the rot in the system. Director Krish, who goes by only one name, takes one of Hindi cinema’s most iconic villains and makes him a hero.

But the new Gabbar even delivers the old Gabbar’s most memorable lines, including ‘Ab tera kya hoga, Kalia?’ For Sholay lovers like me, it’s blasphemy.

Gabbar Is Back is a remake of AR Murugadoss’s Ramanaa. I haven’t seen that film, but this one makes very little sense.

Why is Gabbar on a killing spree? A tragic backstory involves a forgettable cameo by Kareena Kapoor Khan and an unintentionally comical shot of buildings collapsing. Akshay glowers and roars; he’s supposed to be a lean, mean killing machine but he just looks exhausted. The fulsome beard doesn’t help.

Shruti has a startling, unique beauty that Nikhil Advani used to great effect in D-Day. But here she becomes one more generic, synthetic ornament. Hers is also, by a mile, the worst performance in the film.

For me, the final straw was Gabbar’s last speech, in which he exhorts the youth to stand up against corruption and says that his mission was inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. It hit the sweet spot between outrageous and spectacularly dumb.

Rating:   star

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