Remakes are tricky beasts. Once you’ve seen the original, you have a fair idea of how the story will end. AR Murugadoss, however, remains undeterred. The director’s Ghajini, released in 2008, made an action hero of an unlikely star – Aamir Khan. Momento gave him a story, not a template. One could take issue with his Holiday (2014), but an adaptation of the Tamil film Thuppakki, this Akshay Kumar-starrer had the kind of box office collections which made redundant the most aesthete of critics. Akira too borrows its narrative from the Tamil film Mouna Guru (2011), but this time, the tale again has a twist. Unlike the original, the uncontrollable protagonist with a fierce temper isn’t a man.
Action films, especially those that resemble blockbusters from the South, often demonstrate a violence that is mechanical. You know that after delivering one blow after another, the hero will be the last man standing. That same punch when thrown by a woman, however, assumes a significance that is both radical and more real. Though the Akira trailer sees Sonakshi Sinha take on rowdies in much the same manner as her male counterparts would, the feminist in us (and there should be one in all of us), feels a greater impatience. Akira Sharma must win her fight. There’s more at stake here than the film’s plot. Mouna Guru and convention might tell us that she’ll save the day, but that doesn’t diminish the novelty. After breaking hearts, it’s time for a female actor to break some bones.
Going by its two-and-a-half minute trailer, the film’s appeal is nostalgic. Coming from Jodhpur, Akira finds herself in the big bad world of a Bombay college. You’d have thought that the gangs which once threateningly roamed the corridors had gone extinct in the 90s. Akira brings them back. There are few fight sequences in the college’s hostel and its mess which establish one fact. Sonakshi, in this film, will not take anything lying down. The details are fuzzy at this stage, but a sequence of unfortunate events puts Akira on the radar of police officials, all of whom seem dangerously corrupt.
Anurag Kashyap encapsulates the kind of menace you’d expect an intimidating cop to have
Anurag Kashyap, who plays the villain of this piece, encapsulates the kind of menace you’d expect a notorious and intimidating cop to have. He threatens Akira with force and consequence, but he also appears cognisant of the kind of danger a lone girl can pose to him and his system. Konkona Sen Sharma, who looks like the more concerned inspector here, may well bring to the film a dose of honesty that will prove that will prove significant in the end. Akira, though, will take the fight to Kashyap on her own. The trailer explicitly states that she doesn’t have family or friends to count on.
Akira will tell the story of that familiar battle between an individual and a hostile world
As we see her being electrocuted in an asylum and with a gun to her head, we know that Akira will tell the story of that familiar battle between an individual and a hostile world. There’s an escapable sense of déjà vu here. But despite its air of predictability, the trailer promises a movie that might be gritty and revolutionary. Akira’s tagline states that no one will be forgiven. Given that it will show us a woman kicking ass like never before, I could, however, forgive its few flaws for the sake of equality.