Directors: Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rajit Kapur
At one point in A Gentleman – Sundar, Susheel, Risky, Kavya describes her ardent suitor Gaurav as ‘kuch zyada hi safe hai, apni minivan ki tarah.’ That’s exactly the problem with this film.
Directors Raj and DK have a distinctive voice – their USP is their keen sense of humor. Who else could come up with an idea of a Gujarati goon in Miami named Jignesh? Jignesh’s henchmen are comically scrawny. In one scene, Jignesh dismisses a theory about Gaurav, saying it can’t be true because Gaurav is not a ghel sappo – moron in Gujarati.
Jignesh, played by Amit Mistry, was one of my favorite characters in this film. There’s also the wonderful Hussain Dalal playing Gaurav’s straight-laced friend Dixit. You can imagine how Americans mangle that name. After a violent encounter, Dixit discovers his inner machismo. He tells Gaurav: I want the thug life yaar.
But this fabulous eccentricity is buried under uninspired padding. We have a thinly-written leading lady whose single memorable trait is that she is constantly speeding and being stopped by cops. Jacqueline Fernandez will give you fitness goals but there is little else that she accomplishes here. Raj and DK, who wrote the story with Sita Menon, also don’t put enough meat on the Colonel, played by Suniel Shetty.
Colonel runs an operation called Unit X. These folks are ostensibly protecting National Security but you soon discover that all is not what it seems. The Colonel is a cardboard – on paper and on screen. As is his favorite pupil Yakub played by Darshan Kumar. The heavily tattooed Yakub mostly looks grim and delivers trite dialogue. Darshan deserved better material.
Of course, we aren’t supposed to take any of this seriously. A Gentleman is designed to be good-looking popcorn entertainment. The visuals, in Miami, Mumbai, Goa and Bangkok are slick. And the film does entertain but not consistently enough. The plot is clever but what should have been a breezy 90-minute caper is stretched to over 2 hours. Raj and DK hobble themselves with songs, meandering scenes and cool but pointless action sequences. There simply isn’t enough buoyancy to keep it afloat.
But despite the clunky plotting, A Gentleman never becomes a crashing bore. Credit must go to Sidharth Malhotra, who is in almost every frame. He fits both avatars – the boy-next-door, a man that a potential mother-in-law would declare Sarvagun sampaan. And he makes for a strong, suave operative who can parcel and store a large body without breaking into a sweat. Watch his expressions in a lovely scene, in which his signal to call for help is to shout help. It’s very funny.
Perhaps there’s a more sparkling sequel here.