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Upperstall Review


Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty


Hindi, Action, Drama, 2014, Color

Cast And Crew

Captain Virat Bakshi (Akshay Kumar) of the Indian Army comes to Mumbai from Kashmir. Immediately, he is made to see a girl, Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha), for his marriage. He turns her down saying she is too homely and traditional only to find out she was made up so for the 'meeting' and is actually quite the modern hep girl into sports. He falls for her. Meanwhile in Mumbai, one day while travelling by bus, a passenger's wallet gets stolen. Jagdish, on the bus with a police officer friend, Mukund (Sumeet Raghavan), starts searching each and every co-passenger only to have one run away from the bus. Chasing him, he turns behind to see the bus explode. He catches the terrorist, hides him at home, tortures him by cutting his fingers and finds out that in 2 days time, a series of sleeper cell attacks are planned all around Mumbai. Somehow with the help of his army buddies, he thwarts the attacks destroying all 12 sleeper cells. The person behind it all in Gulmarg, Kashmir (Farhad) decides to come to Mumbai and take charge of things. He tells Virat he is coming to which Virat replies he is waiting...

Today, marketing a film, creating relevant hype and timing its release correctly plays a much, much bigger part than really how good or bad the film is. We've seen this with most of our so-called 100 crore club films over the last few years. Why only recently, the god-awful Heropanti coming in as a masala entertainer during the IPL, when audiences were starved of 'entertainment', did its bit at the box-office. And now Holiday: A Soldier is Never Off Duty has opened to a decent if not quite record breaking start at the box-office, being as it is the first big release post the IPL circus.

As is known, the film is a pretty faithful re-make of the director's own blockbuster Thupakki (2012) starring Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal and yet again there's something lost in translation as this version doesn't not match up to the Tamil version. At this point, let me tell you I am no big fan of the original either, which frankly, I thought was pretty sad. A re-make helps you to correct bits that do not work in the original and here, in fact, director Murugadoss has removed certain items like the hero's intro song. But instead of tightening up the film, strangely it moves along its entire length pretty sluggishly and lacks whatever zip and energy Thupakki had.

Sure, films like these are not to be reviewed on aesthetics or logic, but whether they succeed in delivering the 'entertainment' quotient. To me, a lot of the illogical details (bone setting for one!) are beyond belief (the hero works as a one man army through the film without having to report to his seniors what is going on), the narrative as I said plods along, some of the characterizations like that of the bimbo heroine are cardboard like and even the songs (OK enough) and action scenes don't add value to the film. The naach-gaana do nothing other than bring the already plodding narrative to a grinding halt while the action scenes are strictly average and even the destruction of the 12 sleeper cells appear far more exciting in the original. OK, I can't help comparing as I have seen the original.

In fact, by and large even the performances are better in he original. Vijay comes off much better than Akshay Kumar (maybe the fact that he was a decade younger when he did the role helps) sincere though Akshay is and most importantly though wooden, Vidyut Jamwal had enough screen presence, menace and martial arts experience to make a strong enough antagonist. Farhad here makes no impact and this makes the battle of wits between him and Akshay Kumar fall flat. Only Sonakshi Sinha in her idiotic role actually (!) comes off better and looks a sportswoman unlike Kajal Aggarwal who made a total fool of herself in the sporting scenes. Govinda's special appearance again does nothing for the film.

Murugadoss is credited himself with the dialogue and maybe that is why you have such corny gems like the sleeper cells becoming coma cells! The one point he does make in the film is when Akshay tells his sister - the patriotism of the army is taken for granted and it is expected that a soldier will sacrifice his life for the country if need be. Why don't civilians too think of the country and sacrifice themselves for it if the need so arises? But for this, the civilian should not be simply thrust into such a situation without knowing what's going on as Akshay does with his sister. This negates the entire argument. Technically, there's not much to go by and though the last song does dwell on families seeing their sons go off to duty to defend their motherland, I don't think that this film is quite worthy of the dedication Murugadoss gives the Indian soldier, his noble intentions notwithstanding.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

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