Director: Siddharth Anand
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vaani Kapoor
War is a battle won by beauty – specifically Hrithik Roshan’s beauty. As special agent Kabir, the actor is back to putting his dazzling good looks and suave style into service the way he did in his debut film Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai and Dhoom 2. Director Siddharth Anand and this film are as mesmerized by him as we are. So in one scene, Hrithik just walks out of a helicopter – he doesn’t even run like Shah Rukh Khan did in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. But everyone including the Colonel Kabir reports to, is transfixed. Kabir’s sideburns are grey, his face is lined and lacerated. But this only adds to his weathered gorgeousness. Later in the film, when a girl offers to run away with Kabir, his junior Khalid says, ‘Get in line’.
Of course, Khalid is no slouch either. Tiger Shroff’s ripped abs get their own moment of glory but thankfully, in this film, the actor’s isn’t only relying on his physical prowess. The role has more complexities than the usual Tiger movie and the actor delivers. It also helps that Tiger is a self-professed Hrithik bhakt. So the admiration you see in Khalid’s eyes is genuine. Kabir is all about swag and Khalid is all about sincerity. They complete each other.
In War, Siddharth gets a chance to make a film with two of Hindi cinema’s best action heroes but mercifully, he backs the propulsive action with a story. Of course, War is a popcorn entertainer and you can’t ask too many questions. But if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, the twists and turns exert a solid grip. The story, by Siddharth and producer Aditya Chopra and the screenplay by Siddharth and Sridhar Raghavan, borders on silly but it never topples over. The film also offers a trip to all the places you might have on your bucket list – from Kerala to Bondi beach in Australia to Portugal. Each location has been shot like a glossy tourism catalogue by DOP Benjamin Jasper. Umpteen overhead shots underline the scale of the film and the money that was spent.
Four action directors worked on the film – Paul Jennings who did The Dark Knight, Oh Sea Young who did Avengers: Age of Ultron, Franz Spilhaus who did Death Race: Inferno and Parvez Shaikh who did Tiger Zinda Hai. They create distinctive set pieces – so we get a motorcycle chase, an air plane battle and a two-minute, thirty-second long bone crunching sequence in which Khalid is introduced. There’s also a massively mounted climactic sequence on an ice-breaking ship. But whether it’s land, sea or air, Hrithik and Tiger make the action convincing. I liked that their characters aren’t unbreakable. We see them bleed and get exhausted. Momentarily at least, they seem fallible.
War isn’t trying for depth but the story isn’t afraid of being slightly more twisty. The film is too long and the post-interval portion sags. In places, the narration gets clumsy – there’s a flashback within a flashback and the songs are force-fitted. In fact, the background music by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara has more impact than the two songs by Vishal-Shekhar. This is a testosterone-heavy universe – the women, Vaani Kapoor, Soni Razdan, Anupriya Goenka briefly saunter in to provide the emotional centre. But War is very much a bromance which sparkles because Hrithik and Tiger are combative without being competitive.
I had a good time. I think you will too.