Director: Aditya Datt
Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Angira Dhar, Gulshan Devaiah
Release date: November 29, 2019
The religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims is one of India’s gravest fault lines. Commando 3 offers a simple solution – Vidyut Jammwal in a manbun. As Karanveer Singh Dogra, Vidyut is a remarkably efficient killing machine. He dispatches bad guys, often without weapons. Because when you have those fists and that agility, who needs guns? Before a big fight, Karanveer pauses and adjusts the manbun almost as though it holds the secret of his energy. But Karanveer is also a patriot and a statesman. One heartfelt speech from him is all it takes to set India right. He’s not just a commando. He’s our secret superstar.
No wonder the ladies can’t get enough of him. In Commando 2, the encounter specialist with the annoying accent – Bhavna Reddy, played by Adah Sharma – is enamored by Karanveer. As is a femme fatale, played by Esha Gupta, who seductively tells him: Tumhein resist karna mushkil hai. Nothing has changed. In Commando 3, Bhavna is back and this time, her rival is British agent Mallika Sood, played by Angira Dhar. The ladies exchange notes on how they might share him someday, minutes before they embark on a dangerous mission. Thankfully, Mallika has the sense to roll her eyes.
The sight of a bulky man in a langot slowly pulling up the dress of a girl with pigtails is perverse and tone-deaf. Isn’t it time that writers and directors found new ways of establishing heroism other than rescuing abla naaris?
Silliness is embedded into the DNA of the Commando franchise. These films are designed to showcase Vidyut’s incredible physical prowess and logic is not a priority. Here, he’s introduced in a scene in which a pehelwaan from an akhada is lifting up a schoolgirl’s skirt. We see a flash of thigh but before the skirt gets too high, our savior arrives and pummels to pulp, not just this pehelwaan but also all of his akhada-mates. The sight of a bulky man in a langot slowly pulling up the dress of a girl with pigtails is perverse and tone-deaf. Isn’t it time that writers and directors found new ways of establishing heroism other than rescuing abla naaris? Right after Karanveer sets right these wrongs, he is summoned by High Command because, India main bahut bada attack hone wala hai. An anonymous Jihadist leader is converting Hindu boys to Islam and brainwashing them into spreading terror – all via videotape. Of course Karanveer is the only one who can unravel this mystery and stop these attacks.
Which brings us to London and the usually reliable Gulshan Devaiah, here playing Buraq, the sophisticated mastermind behind this dastardly plan. Buraq’s black heart is supposed to chill you so Gulshan speaks slowly and stares people into submission. But his British accent is unintentionally funny. Incidentally, Vidyut doesn’t blink either. All grand statements like – mera zameer aur zameen izazat nahin dete – are made with ferocious gaze in place. The women also follow cue.
Commando 3 is more ambitious than Commando 2 but that film set a pretty low bar
The story, written by Darius Yarmil and Junaid Wasi, is attempting to speak to and cash in on the present political climate. Commando 3 is more ambitious than Commando 2 but that film set a pretty low bar. Director Aditya Datt tries to construct tension with a countdown, secret locations, friction between the Indian security services and the British forces but Commando 3 just plods along without any surprises. It doesn’t help that there are consistent doses of action to remind the viewers, one more time, of Vidyut’s amazing fighting abilities – the actor does his stunts himself. After a while though, all the kicking, pirouetting and slicing starts to look the same. My eyes glazed over and I wondered: Why doesn’t anyone bring guns to these fights – it would all be over sooner!
Commando 3 is a celebration of hyper-masculinity and hyper-patriotism. That’s not a good combination – either in cinema or in life.